When interviewing candidates for an open position there is a lot of information a hiring manager is trying to find out about an applicant. No matter what industry you are hiring for nothing is more important than a good fit. Personality and communication skills go a long way towards determining if someone is a good fit for your agency. As you are narrowing your search to a few good candidates, more personal questions seem like the way to go about finding out if one candidate can rise up above the other. Making sure your hiring managers know what is and what is not acceptable can save your business from the damages of an EPLI Claim.
EPLI stands for Employment Practices Liability Insurance. This is an insurance policy that covers a business from the legal costs that arise from lawsuits related to the employment process. The coverage can include lawsuits that result from issues with hiring, firing and harassment in the workplace. These types of lawsuits have been on the rise for more than two decades. For this reason it is extremely important for hiring managers to be crystal clear what they can and what they cannot ask in an interview.
Here are 8 examples of questions to never ask when going through the hiring process.
- What is your religious affiliation?
- What is your ethnicity (or race, or color)?
- How old are you?
- Are you married?
- Do you drink (or smoke) socially?
- Do you have children or plan to?
- Are you pregnant?
What is your religious affiliation, may seem like an innocent question until you ask it to someone who may take offense to it. Many people are religious and the hiring manager may bring up a question like this just as a way to relate to someone on a personal level. No matter what your intentions are with asking questions about religion it is always best to keep them out of the workplace.
What is your ethnicity (or race, or color), is never an appropriate question to ask. In 2016 it is very likely that a hiring manager will interview an international person at some point in time. Even a question as simple as what country are you were you born can be misunderstood. It should not be brought up in any way shape or form.
Age is not a question that can be asked in the hiring process. Regardless of whether the person in question is young or old, bringing up age is not an acceptable part of any job interview. EPLI Lawsuits in relation to age are one of the most common forms of lawsuits filed.
A persons Marital status is not an acceptable question to be a part of the hiring process. As long as a person shows up and is able to do the job they are being hired for their marital status has nothing to do with their relationship with their employer.
Questions about lifestyle choices are not allowed in the hiring process. The most common place where this becomes an issue is asking about peoples habits in relation to drinking and smoking. after the hiring process this can only be an issue if there is reason to believe the person is coming to work under the influence or that the employees drinking or smoking habits are interfering with their performance at work.
Asking about children and if a candidate plans to have children is a slippery slope. In many cases this is just simple water cooler talk among people in their 20’s and 30’s. If a hiring manager has a child they may find that asking about family members or children is a normal part of daily conversation because they dominate so much of their life. This may be an issue the potential employee has a problem with. If the candidate is trying to have children, but can’t this may be a stressful personal question they are not comfortable talking about. It has the potential to be interpreted in the wrong manner no matter how innocent the question is. These types of questions are best to always be kept off the table.
With todays’ litigious society, the chances you will face an EPLI Lawsuit go up every year you stay in business. The smaller the business and the longer the employee has been with only make the damage more severe when a claim does occur. Small businesses today are beginning to purchase this coverage more often, but still a majority of businesses with less than 100 employees still choose not to purchase this coverage. This is a decision that can save them a few hundred dollars per year on the front end, but when a lawsuit does happen it may cost them thousands on the back end if the business is not covered.