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Hiring Checklist

        Employers must realize that the hiring process can create just as much liability for their business as issues arising with current employees. Risk management begins with understanding that certain seemingly innocent questions can elicit information which is inappropriate for an employer to obtain in an interview. Employers should avoid the questions below and need to train all employees who participate in the interview process to do the same.

        Questions to avoid:

  1. Applicant’s age/date of birth
  2. Dates of school attendance (i.e high school graduation year)
  3. Name of church/religious organization and/or religious leaders
  4. Applicant’s parents’ names/family history
  5. Applicant’s maiden name/preference for title
  6. Applicant’s marital status
  7. Who resides with the Applicant
  8. Whether the Applicant has children, ages of children, childcare arrangements, plans to have children/adopt children/host foster children
  9. Applicant’s financial condition – i.e. mortgages, loans, credit rating, assets, wage garnishments
  10. Applicant’s criminal background – i.e. arrests
  11. Military service
  12. Applicant’s sexual orientation
  13. Clubs/organizations to which Applicant belongs
  14. Whether Applicant ever filed worker’s compensation claim or other lawsuit
  15. Whether Applicant will have difficulties working with members of other races/protected classes
  16. Applicant’s nationality/citizenship status/native language
  17. Applicant’s status regarding government social/financial benefits
  18. Gaps in employment

        Some of the questions above seem “innocent enough” and have been part of standard hiring protocol for years. However, the development and expansion of employment regulations allow applicants to bring discrimination claims based on the assumption that employers “must” have a bias against certain individuals simply because the employer asked one of the questions above. Example: an employer asks about a gap in employment. The applicant answers that she stayed home for two years after her child was born. The employer hires another candidate for legitimate, nondiscriminatory business reasons. The applicant files a charge of discrimination on the basis that she was discriminated against because of the employer’s bias against mothers. The gap in employment question used to be standard protocol but now is just another source of potential liability.



  1. Whether Applicant has a disability which may affect the Applicant’s ability to perform the job
  2. Whether the Applicant has a disability/injury/attends therapy/major illness/overall good health
  3. Whether Applicant will need to leave work for treatment or any other medical leave of absence
  4. Whether Applicant has taken leaves of absence in the past
  5. Whether Applicant has/ever had drinking or drug problem
  6. Whether any member of Applicant’s family or acquaintances has a disability
  7. What medications Applicant is taking
  8. Explanation of gaps in employment


  1. Inform Applicant of attendance and punctuality requirements, and asking if the Applicant can comply, with or without reasonable accommodation
  2. Reviewing with the Applicant the specific job-related functions (i.e. lifting 50 lbs; carrying 25lbs of equipment for short distances; standing/walking for 4 hours at a time; being able to view a computer screen for up to 8 hours a day) from a job description and asking whether the Applicant can perform those functions with or without a reasonable accommodation