Are there questions your prospective employer or employer should not ask?

New York law protects your rights in employment interviews and the workplace under New York State Human Rights Law. It is wise to know your rights so you can recognize discrimination, should the situation arise.

New York State Human Rights Law provides equal protection based on race, color, gender, marital status, age, disability, creed or religion.

What are examples of discriminatory questions or actions?

The following are protected areas, and certain actions or questions regarding them are illegal:

  • An interviewer or employer cannot ask questions about your complexion or skin coloring.
  • Religion or creed. Asking what hours and days you can work is legal. However, the employer or interviewer cannot ask you what your religious affiliation is or what holidays you observe or where your place of worship is.
  • A job interviewer must not ask you what your gender is. Nor should your employer ask. An exception would be if your gender directly related to the job, such as an attendant for a gender-restricted locker room or restroom.
  • It is illegal to ask whether you are married, single, divorced or separated. Nor should an employer or interviewer ask whether to address you as Miss, Mrs. or Ms.?
  • It is legal to ask whether you are 18 years old or older. If you are not 18 or older, your employer can request that you state your age. However, the following questions are illegal: how older are you, what is your birth date, what ages are your children and what year did you graduate?
  • Employers can ask whether you can perform a specific task in a reasonable manner. However, they cannot ask whether you have a disability, or impairment whether mental or physical that would prevent reasonable job performance. They also cannot ask whether you have a disease or an alcohol or drug problem.

See the New York rulings on pre-employment inquiries for further details.

Are you having problems with discrimination in the workplace?

Find out how we can help. For many years, the Law Office of Peter A. Romero has dealt successfully with all types of discrimination issues. We provide representation to clients throughout NYC, including in Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Harlem/Upper Manhattan. Call us at (631) 257-5588 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.