Interview Questions: Legal vs. Illegal

September 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment  

Hello everyone,

We have been receiving many inquiries in regards to legality of some questions that are being asked during job interviews. In this post we will answer some of them.

Inquiry Area

Illegal Questions

Legal Questions

Nationality Origin/ Citizenship – Are you a Canadian citizen?-Where were you/your parents born?

– What is your “native tongue”?

– Are you authorized to work in Canada?-What language do you read/ speak/write fluently? (This question is okay only if this ability is relevant to the performance of the job.)
Age – How old are you?- When did you graduate?

– What’s your birth date?

– Are you between the ages of 18 and 64?
Marital/Family Status – What’s your marital status?- Whom do you live with?

– Do you plan to have a family? When?

– How many kids do you have?

– What are your child-care arrangements?

– Would you be willing to relocate if necessary?- Would you be able and willing to travel as needed by the job? (This question is okay if it is asked of all applicants for the job.)

– Would you be able and willing to work overtime as necessary? (Again, this question is okay assuming it is asked of all applicants for the job.)

Affiliations – What clubs or social organizations do you belong to? – List any professional or trade groups or other organizations that you belong to that you consider relevant to your ability to perform this job.
Personal – How tall are you? How much do you weigh? (Questions about height and weight are not acceptable unless minimum standards are essential to the safe performance of the job.) – Are you able to lift a 30kg weight and carry it 100 metres, as that is part of the job?
Disabilities – Do you have any disabilities?- Please complete the following medical history.

– Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations? (If yes, list them and give dates when these occurred.)

– What was the date of your last physical exam?

– How’s your family’s health?

– When did you lose your eyesight? How?

– Do you need an accommodation to perform the job? (This question can only be asked after a job offer has been made.)

– Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job? (This question is okay if the interviewer has thoroughly described the job.)- Can you demonstrate how you would perform the following job-related functions?

– As part of the hiring process, after a job offer has been made, you will be required to undergo a Medical exam. (Exam results must be kept strictly confidential, except medical/safety personnel may be informed if emergency medical treatment is required, and supervisors may be informed about necessary job accommodations, based on exam results.)

Arrest Record – Have you ever been arrested? – Have you ever been convicted of __________?(The crime named should be reasonably related to the performance of the job in question.)
Sex – Are you male or female? What are the names and Relationships of persons living with you? – None
Race/Colour – What is your race? What colour is your hair, eyes, or skin? – None
Religion – What is your religious affiliation Or denomination? What church do you belong to? What is the name of your pastor, minister, or rabbi? What religious holidays do you observe? – None (If you wish to know if an applicant is available to work Saturday or Sunday shifts, ask: “Are you available to work on Saturdays and Sundays if needed?” Make sure you ask this question of all applicants.)

Some questions may sound legal but show prejudice and stereotypical attitudes, specifically as it relates to working women. “How many kids do you have?” is just one example. “What are your child-care arrangements?” is another.

Written by:

Gary plays a key role in leading and defining solutions to help companies overcome “people challenges” to create productive, engaging and prosperous workplaces. Twenty years of business experience including management and human resources, working with small companies and Fortune 500 firms gives Gary a solid “hands-on” knowledge of the industry. His passion is to promote ideas, solutions and technology that inspire excellence at a workplace and creates positive change. Gary’s primary focus is the development of business solutions to help companies evaluate, select and develop the very best people. In addition to managing a team and overseeing custom program development for the client, Gary works to increase each company’s productivity and employee engagement by implementing wide range of evaluation tools and strong system of support.

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