September 13, 2022
JML Law

Your goal when interviewing for a job is to make the best possible impression on a potential employer. You may thus feel you should answer all their questions thoroughly and honestly.

This is understandable. However, it’s important to understand that for legal reasons, an employer may not be able to ask certain questions during an interview. If they do ask such questions, you don’t need to answer them.

Questions that should raise a red flag include the following:

Questions about race, ethnicity, or country of origin

An employer in California can’t discriminate against an employee due to their race, ethnicity, or national origin. There is no reason for an employer to ask questions about such topics during a job interview.

(Just be aware that there are exceptions to all these points. For example, for some government jobs, asking questions about race is actually a requirement.)

Questions about whether you have a disability

California law and federal law require employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities. Employers also can’t discriminate against disabled workers. Unless a worker’s disability will genuinely prevent them from performing the tasks assigned to them, their disability shouldn’t play a role in their employment. That means an employer shouldn’t feel the need to ask about this matter in an interview.

Questions about religion

Federal laws and California’s employment laws also prohibit discrimination based on religion. You should be very alarmed if an employer asks about your religious views when you’re interviewing for a position.

Questions about marital status

It might not always be illegal for an employer to ask about your marital status during a job interview. This is a gray area with regard to legality.

However, there are very few legitimate reasons an employer would have for inquiring about whether you’re married.

It’s worth noting that some employers discriminate against workers and applicants based on marital status. Some prefer their employees to be married, as they believe it’s important for their workers to have “traditional” lifestyles. Others don’t wish for their employees to be married, feeling that a marriage will be a distraction when their primary focus should be on their work.

Discrimination on the basis of marital status is illegal in California. Unfortunately, it still happens.

Questions regarding your financial status

This is another type of question that might not technically be illegal for an employer to ask. That said, if they do ask such a question, you should feel comfortable asking why it’s relevant and how they plan on using the information you provide.

How a California Employment Lawyer Can Help

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the questions an employer shouldn’t ask when interviewing job candidates. For example, an employer also shouldn’t ask about gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Do you believe you weren’t given a job due to the answers you provided in response to questions like these during a job interview? Or, do you have reason to suspect the answers you’ve given to such questions have made you the target of discrimination in your current role? If so, review your case with a Los Angeles employment law attorney at JML Law. We can explain whether you have grounds to take legal action. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us at 818-610-8800 for a free consultation.

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