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What Are You Allowed and NOT Allowed to Ask?

Some questions, or variants of questions, commonly asked during the hiring process may ask the employee to reveal protected information. It’s best not to ask these questions. An employee may think you’re trying to get at personal, protected information and use that as a criteria in the workplace.

Here’s a guide to the kinds of questions you can or shouldn’t ask in various topics.

TopicOK QuestionInappropriate Question
Name“What’s your full name?”“What’s your maiden name?” (marriage status, pregnancy status)
Age“Are you at least 16 / 18 / 21 years old?” (legal age requirements)“How old are you?”

“What’s your birthday?”

“When did you graduate college?”

Birthplace, Natural Origin“Are you authorized to work in the US?”

You can only ask for proof of citizenship or right to work (green card, visa) after you’ve chosen to hire the employee.

“Where were you born?”

“Where were your parents born?”

“What language do you speak at home?”

Religion“The job’s regular hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 3pm – 11pm.”“What religion are you?”

“Are those hours going to interfere with your worship plans?”

“What are you getting the kids for Christmas / Hanukkah this year?”

Sex, Marital Status, Family“Are you related to any of our current employees?”"Are you married?”

“When’s the wedding?”

“How many kids do you have?”

“Planning on having any children?”

“If we hire you, would you have any trouble getting daycare squared away?”

Race, Color, Sexual OrientationNoneAny question regarding these criteria is unacceptable.
Mental or Physical Disability, Medical Condition“Are you able to perform these job duties?”

“We require a job-related physical or mental examination after we hire a new employee but before they start working."

Administering a physical or mental examination to new hires and employees, as long as the examination is job-related

Any question that directly or indirectly inquires about the candidate or employee’s physical or mental disability or medical condition.
Emergency ContactName, address, email address, and phone number of your emergency contactRelationship to your emergency contact