How many times have you interviewed potential employees and asked the following questions:
This job requires the ability to lift things heavier than 20 pounds, have you had prior medical problems that would prevent you from being able to do so?
Your name is very exotic, where are you originally from?
We are hiring because our business is about to become very busy, do you have any plans that might interfere with your ability to work full time over the next year?
Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
In a certain sense, the answers to these questions are very relevant to whether a candidate would be a good fit for your business. You want an employee that can literally do the heavy lifting. You want an employee that doesn’t have other commitments that might require significant amounts of time off. You want diversity in your company. And you also want employees that you feel are trustworthy.
However, in the legal sense, you could be liable for violating a number of employment laws. Courts tend to frown on questions about a candidate’s age, race, nationality, or questions that serve a hidden agenda such as discriminating against women (“Will you be starting a family anytime soon?”).
Before you hire your next employee, make sure you review both state and federal employment laws. Additionally, if you are not the only person conducting interviews, make sure everyone involved is educated about the law as well. One of the best ways to prevent even accidental or unintended illegal questions is by giving every interviewer a “cheat sheet” of topics and issues to avoid.
If you have questions about whether your hiring practices are in compliance with all applicable law, contact the business lawyers at the Vethan Law Firm to get peace of mind.