What Questions Can a Prospective Employer Ask During an Interview?

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, federal discrimination laws prohibit employers from engaging in discriminatory conduct during employment. This also includes the pre-employment interview process. Employers cannot make a hiring decision based on a person’s age, race, religion, sex, national origin, or disability.

Sometimes, employers trying to gather as much information as possible about an applicant will rely on preconceived notions and stereotypes in doing so.

A few of the problematic questions employers routinely ask are:

  • whether an applicant is married, engaged, single, or divorced;
  • whether an applicant has any children and, if so, how old they are;
  • whether an applicant plans on becoming pregnant;
  • what an applicant’s spouse or boyfriend does for a living;
  • whether an applicant attends religious services and, if so, what days; and
  • the origins of an applicant’s last name.

If an employer wants to know about an employee’s availability, they should tailor their questions in a way that does not require an applicant to divulge personal information. Employees should be ready to answer these questions, and should do so in a manner that does not provide a potential employer with any information they would not otherwise be able to ascertain. For example, the following are permissible questions an employer may ask:

  • whether an applicant has any commitments that may interfere with their work schedule;
  • whether an applicant can travel for work; and
  • whether an applicant is capable of carrying a certain amount of weight.

Texas job applicants should also be careful when engaging in what seems like small talk with a potential employer. It is common for both the interviewer and applicant to engage in light conversation to break the ice. However, it is important to avoid providing personal details that are not relevant to the position. Some employers strategically bring up certain topics hoping to learn more about an applicant. For example, an employer may casually mention the photo on their desk of their children in hopes that an applicant will then voluntarily discuss his or her own children.

Have You Been Passed Over for a Job?

If you have recently been discriminated against in the pre-employment interview process, contact the employment law attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. We represent employees and job applicants in all types of discrimination cases and are familiar with the subtle ways employers attempt to discriminate against job applicants. To learn more about how we may be able to help you with your situation, call 214-528-6500 to schedule a consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Texas Employers Cannot Engage in “Quid Pro Quo” Discrimination/Harassment, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, February 15, 2019.

Are All Texas Employment Contracts Enforceable?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, January 17, 2019.

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