INTERVIEWS GONE WILD! « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


How Not to Interview a Potential Employee

In our expanding world of regulation and – right or wrong – of widening political correctness, interviewing job applicants can be a precarious adventure.

The federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discriminatory hiring on the basis of race, color, religion, sex/gender and national origin.  Other federal and state laws bar employment discrimination the basis of physical or mental disability, age (usually 40 years-of-age or over), sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, medical condition, veteran status and other criteria.

Questions deemed directed at discovering an applicant’s membership in any such “protected category” can later become possible evidence of an employer’s discriminatory intentions. Thus, while any of these “getting to know you” queries may seem perfectly innocent, each of them is a potential problem in the event of a later government investigation or lawsuit:

  • Are you married? Divorced? Single? Engaged?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you plan to start a family?
  • Do you own a home? Rent?
  • Are you a citizen?
  • What country do you come from?
  • What is your maiden name?
  • When did you graduate from high school?
  • Been sick lately?
  • Get that scar in the military?
  • What are you doing over Christmas?

Questions to prospects that are clearly aimed at determining actual qualifications for the position applied for are usually within the rules.

Ensuring you have job application forms that fall on the right side of the law is, of course, important.  We offer such forms as well as customized guidance on employment screening, hiring, training, terminations and other related issues.

Whether you’re starting a business or it’s been some years since you reviewed and updated your company’s employment forms and policies, contact us to see how we can help.