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Questions employers should avoid during the hiring process

| May 27, 2021 | Employer Concerns |

One of the greatest assets that a Kentucky business can invest in is its employees. Finding the right people and retaining them as workers can help a business grow and achieve success. The process of finding the right people for the right work begins during the hiring process, and when a potential employee is found through the application process, they may be scheduled for an interview so that the business can learn more about them.

Interviews provide employers with important information about applicants. It gives them an opportunity to see applicants under pressure and evaluate their “in the moment” comments. However, there are certain questions that employers cannot ask their perspective employees. Many of these questions refer to protected characteristics that are identified in federal and state civil rights laws.

What are protected classifications?

Protected classifications identify categories of traits that are part of who individuals are. For example, a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and age may all be protected classifications under different laws. Employers are prohibited from asking specific questions about these and other protected classifications when prospective employees come in for interviews.

What happens if an employer asks a question about a protected classification?

There are several different things that may happen if an employer asks the perspective employee a question about their inclusion in a protected classification. If the employer asks a question that the perspective employee answers and then chooses not to hire the employee, the perspective employee may choose to pursue legal action based on discrimination. They may claim that the employer did not hire them because of their inclusion in the protected classification that was inquired about during their interview.

Some prospective employees may choose to answer questions or may let interviewers know that the questions they have asked are illegal. It is always best for employers to use caution when asking questions in interviews and to avoid questions that relate to protected classifications.

Employment law introduces many complications to the hiring process. Whenever concerns arise about what questions are appropriate to ask, it is best for employers to contact their trusted employment law attorneys for help with these and other human resources matters.