The Catholic University of America

Q and A: Employment

 

 

Interview Guidelines


Age
Alcohol Use
Arrest Record
Citizenship
Color
Conviction Record
Credit Rating
Disabilities

Drug Use
Education
Family Status
Genetic Information
Height Requirement
Marital Status
Membership
Military Service
Name

National Origin
Personal Appearance
Political Affiliation
Race
Religion
Sex
Sexual Orientation
Union Affiliation
Weight Requirements

 

These Office of General Counsel Interview Guidelines focus on what inquiries are prohibited by law. For more general interview guidelines which include good management practice and other non-legal perspectives, see the CUA Human Resource Office Interview Tips and Guidelines

The interviewing party should be careful to ask only questions that are job related. Job applications should also be reviewed to make sure they conform to the law. The following guidelines set forth permissible and impermissible inquiries during the job interview and before the offer to hire is made.

 

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

AGE

 


Age, birth certificate. Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age over 40. DC imposes an additional layer of protection starting at age 18. Inquiries as to date of high school or college graduation.

Whether candidate meets minimum or maximum age requirement that is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ), such as for police officer or firefighter.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE


Alcoholism is a covered disability under the ADA. Current users of illegal drugs are not protected under the ADA.

 

See Pre-Employment Allowed Questions.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

ARREST RECORD


Any inquiry relating to arrest or a criminal accusation not pending. See also CONVICTION. and the DC Ban the Box law.

None.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

CITIZENSHIP

 

 

 

 

 


It is an unfair employment practice to discriminate on the basis of citizenship. The law does not protect unauthorized aliens. It protects citizens and intending citizens, which includes aliens who are lawful permanent residents, as well as temporary residents under the amnesty program who complete a declaration of intention to become a citizen. It is not an unfair employment practice for an employer to prefer to hire a citizen or national of the U.S. over another individual who is an alien if the two individuals are equally qualified for the job. See 8 U.S.C. § 1324B.

Whether candidate is legally eligible to work in the U.S.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

CONVICTION RECORD

 

 


Inquires about past criminal convictions may only be made after a conditional offer is made and the offer can only be withdrawn if the employer can show a legitimate business reason.  See also ARREST RECORD.

Inquiries about convictions that reasonably relate to performing the job in question, but only after conditional offer. Background checks are then allowed. See
DC Ban the Box law.
 

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

CREDIT RATING

 


Inquiries relating to credit history or credit rating that do not relate to the job in question. Good credit requirements have been challenged as discriminatory because they may have an adverse impact on minorities.

Inquiries about credit history that relate to the job in question.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

DISABILITIES


See Pre-Employment Questions.

In general, the employer may not ask disability-related questions at the pre-offer stage.

Questions about the applicant's ability to perform specific job functions.

 

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

EDUCATION

 


Disqualification of a candidate who does not have a particular degree unless employer has proven that the specific degree is the only way to measure a candidate's ability to perform the job in question.

Inquiries regarding degrees or equivalent experience. Information regarding courses relevant to a particular job.

Item  

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

GENETIC INFORMATION Genetic Tests of applicant or family members; family medical history, including questions on genetic info about an unborn child; participation genetic clinical research by applicant or family member.
None.
Item Prohibited Information Lawful Information

HEIGHT OR WEIGHT REQUIREMENTS


Height or weight requirements not related to job.

Height or weight requirements necessary for the job.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

MARITAL AND FAMILY STATUS


DC law prohibits discrimination based on marital status or family responsibilities. Do not ask about childcare problems, number of children, pregnancy, support orders, etc.

Questions about whether candidate can meet work schedule. Ask of both sexes.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

MEMBERSHIP

 


Inquiries about membership in an organization which reflects national origin, race, sex or age of the candidates. Religious  educational institutions are exempt from the federal laws that EEOC enforces when it comes to the employment of individuals based on their particular religion.

Inquiries which do not elicit discriminatory information.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

MILITARY SERVICE

 

 

 

 

 


Under federal law, federal contractors may not discriminate against protected veterans and are required to take affirmative action (list with appropriate employment service) to hire, recruit, promote and retain vets. VEVRAA prohibits contractors from using qualification standards and selection criteria that screen out or tend to screen out a disabled or other protected veteran or a class of disabled or other protected veterans unless the contractor can show that the standards or criteria are job-related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity.

See OFCCP summary.

Type of experience or education in military as it relates to job. See OFCCP summary.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

NAME


Inquiries to determine national origin, ancestry, or prior marital status.

Whether candidate has ever worked under a different name.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

NATIONAL ORIGIN

 

 


Lineage, ancestry, descent, mother tongue, birthplace, citizenship. National origin of spouse or parents. Refusal to hire because of a foreign accent or lack of facility with English could be construed as national origin discrimination. Individuals must be able to communicate well enough to perform the job.

Whether candidate is legally eligible to work in the U.S.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

PERSONAL APPEARANCE

 


DC law prohibits discrimination on the basis of personal appearance. Avoid asking questions about the person's appearance or making unnecessary comments on personal appearance.

OK to state guidelines for on the job dress code that serves a reasonable business purpose, and to advise of CUA rules regarding standards of appearance or dress to prevent a danger to the health, welfare, or safety or employees or others.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

POLITICAL AFFILIATION


Questions regarding the applicant's past or present political affiliation or lack of political affiliation (DC law).

None.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

RACE OR COLOR


Complexion or color of skin or race or ethnicity or national origin; or what country are you from or where are you from?

None.

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

RELIGION


Religious  educational institutions are exempt from the federal laws that EEOC enforces when it comes to the employment of individuals based on their particular religion.

At a religious University, questions regarding religious affiliation and practice.

 

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

SEX


Sex of applicant, where sex is not a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ).

Sex of applicant where BFOQ, such as actor or actress.

Item Prohibited Information Lawful Information
SEXUAL ORIENTATION DC law prohibits discrimination based upon sexual orientation and asking questions about same in hiring process.  

Item

Prohibited Information

Lawful Information

UNION AFFILIATION


The Labor Management Relations Act makes it illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of union membership.

 

 

Source: EEO Interview Guidelines, 29 C.F.R. § 1602 et seq.; DC Code § 1-2501 et seq.; and DCMR, Title 4, Ch. 5, Employment Guidelines.

Other references: Legal Guide to Human Resources, by Kahn, Brown, Zepke, and Lanzarone (published by Warren Gorham and Lamont) (1996), and The Employment Coordinator, Volume 7 (1997) published by Clark Boardman Callaghan.

EEOC Policy Guidance

 

updated mlo 3-25-15