What are the Different Kinds of Illegal Interview Questions?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2019
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There are many interview questions that are illegal in various countries. Some illegal interview questions might pertain to the applicant's age. Illegal interview questions may also include those relating to a person's race or religion.

It should be noted, however, that if an interview question is considered to be illegal in one country, it does not necessarily mean it is illegal in all countries. Interview laws vary according to territories and nations. With that in mind, some broad areas of questioning are typically illegal in most places.

Most questions a job candidate will face are perfectly legal. In some cases however, a question could arise that has legal ramifications. Illegal interview questions a person should be aware of might be something like "Would you consider yourself of senior citizen age?" Inquiring about a candidate's age is one of the illegal interview questions in many areas, even if it is asked in an indirect way.

If the interviewer asks "Do you belong to an organized religion?" this is also considered to be illegal in some countries. This may be a discriminatory question if it does not pertain to the line of work the person is applying to do. For example, if a person is being interviewed for a job as a restaurant cook, asking about his religion is typically considered to be unlawful.


Inquiries that are suggestive and personal with no direct correlation to the job would typically be considered as illegal interview questions. An example might be, "Are you married, single, or divorced?" In most cases, marital status should have no relationship to being hired, and therefore has no place in a job interview. Similarly, questions such as "How many children do you have?" and "What are the ages of your children?" would also be considered illegal interview questions in most cases.

Asking questions regarding the person's sexual orientation is also illegal in many countries. For example, an interview question such as "Are you heterosexual?" would be considered as being unlawful or illegal in most hiring situations. Likewise for questions such as "Would you consider yourself bisexual?"

Other examples of illegal interview questions are ones such as "Were you born in the United States?" This is because inquiring of a person's place of birth is considered to be illegal in many areas of the world. The same might apply to a question such as "Do you have relatives living in another country?"

If a person suspects discrimination during a job interview or is wondering what to do if asked an illegal interview question, there are options to consider. Taking action such as filing a lawsuit might be considered. Speaking with an attorney can provide answers and legal advice. In many cases, free consultation may be obtained.


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