The 5 Illegal Interview Questions A Prospective Employer May Ask You

Do you know which job interview questions are off limits, asks SF employment lawyer Eric Grover?

May 19, 2014, 11:39 ET from Keller Grover LLP

SAN FRANCISCO, May 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Job interviews are nerve racking, as you try to think and answer quickly an onslaught of questions from your potential new employer, but did you know that some of these hard-hitting questions could actually be illegal?

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"Anxiety often takes over job applicants, who are really nervous and don't even think about the legality of the questions the employer is asking," says San Francisco employment lawyer Attorney Eric Grover  "These loaded questions are sometimes a result of an employers ulterior motives to weed out applicants based on race, gender, disability, nationality, religion, military status and age."

The following are five questions that employers are banned from asking under state and federal labor laws:

1.    Do you have someone to provide childcare while you're at work?

While it's Ok for you to share information about having children, a prospective employer doesn't have the right to ask who is providing the childcare or if you're planning to have children. According to labor laws, it is illegal to deny a position based on gender stereotypes. But if you cannot work at certain times due to your childcare situation, the prospective employer can deny you the position if it requires you to be present at work during those times.

2.    I noticed a scar or other physical deformity; can you tell me how you got it?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on an individual's disability, as well as any physical characteristics that provide a perception of having a disability.  But your prospective employer can inquire about your ability to perform job-related tasks with or without accommodations.

3.    I see you're a part of the Army Reserve. How often do you need to participate in training exercises?

It is prohibited to make a hiring decision based on an applicant's participation in our nation's armed forces. Your employer can't ask questions about how your military membership or active duty service will affect your ability to be employed.

4.    Are you planning on having children or becoming pregnant?

An employment decision can't be based on a person's current or future family plans. If they're asking because they are trying to gauge your commitment to the job, there are other ways to ask.

Even questions that inquire about your due date are off limits, because discrimination cannot be made on the basis of pregnancy.

5.    Have you ever been arrested?

Except for certain very limited exceptions, inquiring about a candidates' arrest history is off limits. But your potential employer can still ask if you've been convicted of a crime.

Knowing the laws surrounding the interviewing process and the types of questions you're allowed to answer will help protect you against employers who already have a hidden agenda from the start.

Bookmark our California Labor and Employment law website for latest updates

Media Contact: Eric Grover, Keller Grover LLP, 415.659.9937,

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SOURCE Keller Grover LLP