Pre-Employment Inquiry Guidelines

The following is from an information sheet distributed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits any non-job-related inquiry, either verbal or through the use of an application form, which directly or indirectly limits a person's employment opportunities because of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, medical condition, disability (including AIDS), marital status, sex (including pregnancy), age (40+), exercise of family care leave or leave for an employee's own serious health condition.

The regulations of the Fair Employment and Housing Commission define this to include any question which:

  • Identifies a person on a basis covered by the Act

    OR

  • Results in the disproportionate screening out of members of a protected group

    OR

  • Is not a valid predictor (not a job-related inquiry) of successful job performance

It is the employer's right to establish job-related requirements and to seek the most qualified individual for the job. It is presumed that the information obtained through application forms and interviews is used by the employer in making selection and assignment decisions. For this reason, the employer should make only those inquiries necessary to determine the applicant's eligibility to be considered for employment. Documents required for legitimate business purposes which reveal protected information (such as birth certificates, naturalization papers, or medical histories) may be requested after a job offer is made, not before. Federal and state law prohibit all employers of 25 or more persons (15 or more as of July 26, 1994) from requiring physical examinations prior to the point of hire. (The point of hire is reached once the employer has decided to hire and so informs the applicant.)

This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive compilation of all acceptable and unacceptable application inquiries. The examples listed are representative of questions frequently asked. Those considered unacceptable application inquiries are likely to limit the employment opportunities of persons protected by the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Answers to questions on pre-employment inquiries can be obtained by calling the Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

COLLECTING APPLICANT FLOW DATA:

It is not unlawful for an employer to collect applicant flow and other record keeping data for statistical purposes. Employers are encouraged to solicit this information on a voluntary basis in order to comply with federal and state requirements and to facilitate affirmative action efforts.

The material should be collected on a separate form or tear-off portion of the application and be filed separately. Misuse of this data constitutes a violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act.

SAMPLE QUESTIONS APPLICATION FOR EMPLOYMENT

Personal Information

  • Date
  • Name
  • Present address
  • Permanent address
  • Telephone number
  • Referred by

Employment Desired

  • Position
  • Date you can start
  • Are you employed now?
  • If so, may we inquire of your present employer?
  • Have you ever applied to this company before? Where? When?

Education

  • Name and location of school(For elementary school, high school, college, trade, business or correspondence school)
  • Did you graduate?
  • Subjects studied
  • Subjects of special study or research work
  • Activities (you may exclude those which indicate race, creed, sex, marital status, age, color, national origin, or mental or physical disability)

Former Employers

  • Date (from/to)
  • Name and address of employer (List employers, starting with most recent)
  • Position
  • Reason for leaving

References

  • Name
  • Address
  • Business
  • Years acquainted

Other

  • In case of emergency notify (name, address, telephone number)
  • I authorize investigation of all statements contained in this application
  • Signature and date