Interview Questions to Watch Out For

As the new year has begun, many employees around Connecticut and the rest of the country are still searching for work.  An important issue throughout this process is whether employers are asking proper questions during the interview and job application process.  After all, if an employer is not willing to comply with the law when interviewing you, how much assurance do you have that they will comply with the law once you are an actual employee?  Below, we have listed some questions that employers are not able to ask you, as well as some links to sites for employers regarding proper interview question techniques.

Here are some questions that cannot be asked by Connecticut employers:

Are you married?  Are you planning to get married?

This question is one that many employers would like to ask, but is not allowed because it evidences a bias against women.  This sort of question implies that an employer believes, unfairly, that a woman who is planning to get married is more likely to leave the job and stay at home.  Whether an applicant has children or plans to have children are a similarly disallowed line of questioning.

Where were you born?

Aside from being completely irrelevant to an applicant’s ability to do the job, this question is generally disallowed in order to protect applicants from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, or national origin.

What is your sexual orientation?

It is illegal in Connecticut to discriminate against an applicant on the basis of sexual orientation.  Questions like this generally serve no other realistic purpose than to find out an applicant’s sexual preferences for discriminatory reasons.

Have you ever been arrested?

Whether you have been arrested for any reason is your own business.  Keep in mind, however, that an employer has the right to ask if you have been convicted of a crime in the past.

Questions related to an applicant being disabled

An employer cannot ask you whether or not you are disabled.  The employer can ask whether or not you can perform the job “with, or without, reasonable accommodation.”  That sort of question can be answered affirmatively by both disabled and non-disabled employees, without telling the employer of any particular disability.

There are a number of resources that can be found on the web relating to what employers can and cannot ask during the course of an interview.  The most revealing sites are, unsurprisingly, sites that take the perspective of the employer navigating the process.  Some of these sites even list ways for employers to get around legal barriers to obtain the same information!

It is important to stay informed of your rights, not only if you are already employed but also during the crucial process of interviewing.  Keep up to speed and good luck to those of you who are interviewing or expect to begin interviewing soon!