Weekly HR News - Hiring Practices - What you can and can't ask about religion!

Weekly HR News - Hiring Practices

Interview Questions – What you can and can’t ask in regards to religion!

Part 2 of 7

The job interview is a great way to find out if an applicant is the right person for the job.  It is also an opportunity for the city to find its way into a lawsuit if the wrong questions are asked.  In this series of articles, we will take a look at what questions will get you in hot water and what questions will get you the answers that you need to know!

Issues with questions about a candidate’s religion:

An employer should never ask a candidate anything specific to their religious beliefs.  Many employers innocently ask illegal questions in regards to areas that are off limits in making small talk, but by doing so you can set your city up for liability issues.  

  1. What you can't ask: What religion do you practice?  Where do you attend church?

Some employer’s ask this question to find out about weekend work schedules.  Instead, ask directly when they're able to work.

What to ask instead: What days are you available to work?

  1. What you can't ask: Which religious holidays do you observe?

Again, this could be a question in regards to employee scheduling, but it should be avoided!

What to ask instead: Are you able to work our required schedule?

  1. What you can't ask: Do you belong to a club or social organization?

This question can disclose political and religious affiliations. This question has little to no relation to a candidate's ability to do a job so be sure that the wording focuses on work.

What to ask instead: Are you a member of a professional or trade group that is relevant to our industry?

Next week we will look at issues in regards to age.  For a complete list of interview questions, contact Andrea Shindlebower with the KLC Legal Department.