1. Home
  2. Employers
  3. Small Business Resource Center
  4. 4. What can't I ask when hiring?

4. What can't I ask when hiring?


Before a job offer has been made, you can't ask questions about an applicant's disability or questions that are likely to reveal whether an applicant has a disability. This is true even if the disability is obvious. You can ask the applicant to describe or demonstrate how she would perform specific job tasks, but you can't ask about her disability.

For example, you can't ask an applicant:

  • Do you have a disability?
  • What medications are you currently taking?
  • Have you filed any workers' compensation claims?

However, you can ask an applicant if he will need a reasonable accommodation during the application process or on the job, in certain circumstances:

You also can ask an applicant to voluntarily report that she has a disability for affirmative action purposes.

Different rules apply after a job offer is made and after the employee starts working for you.

You also can't ask questions about an applicant's genetic information, such as the applicant's family medical history or receipt of genetic tests or genetic counseling.

For example, you can't ask an applicant:

  • Have any of your close relatives had a heart attack or been diagnosed with a heart condition?
  • Do mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression or schizophrenia run in your family?
  • Have you had genetic tests to determine whether you are at risk for cancer?

These rules apply to any communications with or about the applicant, including application forms, interviews and reference checks.

These rules apply whether you are seeking information from the applicant or from someone else, such as the applicant's doctor, former employers, friends or family.

See also:

What shouldn't I ask when hiring?

I'm recruiting, hiring or promoting employees.