What Not to Ask: Avoiding Legal Problems During Candidate Interviews

So, you have finally gotten a pool of qualified candidates after months of searching. Now comes the time for the in-person interview. The problem is that not only job seekers can trip up during an interview. Hiring managers with small- to mid-sized businesses have to be sure not to violate federal anti-discrimination guidelines. The wrong question can leave your business liable and vulnerable to lawsuits.PEMCO-Interview.jpg

Federal hiring laws

Managers involved in the hiring process must be familiar with the dictates of laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The ADA establishes requirements for businesses to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities.

Too often, hiring managers ender an interview with little real knowledge of how to properly interact with candidates. Even questions treated as small talk (“Are you married? How old are your children?”) can be perceived as discriminatory under the law. They can be used as evidence against your company in an employment discrimination lawsuit.

Avoiding liability

To avoid liability, questions should never be asked about birthplace, religion, or ethnicity. Similarly, off-limit topics include marital status, sexual preference, age, illnesses, disabilities, or lifestyle choices.

Does it sound overly complicated? This is where the human resources experts of a professional employer organization like PEMCO can provide much-needed guidance and clarity.  We can remove the burden of trying to keep up with complicated federal and state employment regulations. You can also outsource administration of hiring and recruiting to us. This provides a cost-effective alternative to hiring full-time human resources staff for your company.

Liability-proofing your hiring process requires human resources expertise. Contact our team of HR specialists at PEMCO today for help developing the best hiring process for your company.