Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
FACT SHEET: PRE-EMPLOYMENT INQUIRIES
Massachusetts law guarantees that no person shall be denied the right to work because of his or her race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age (over 40), criminal record, or mental or physical handicap/disability. In order to comply with this law, an employer should generally not ask on a job application or during an interview any question that:
Identifies a person as being within a protected category
Results in the screening out of members in a protected category
Is not a valid basis for predicting successful job performance
EMPLOYERS WITH FEWER THAN SIX EMPLOYEES AND NON-PROFIT CLUBS, ASSOCIATIONS, OR CORPORATIONS WHICH ARE EXCLUSIVELY SOCIAL ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THIS LAW
As a general rule, an employer may seek information that is directly related to the applicant's ability to perform the job for which he or she is applying. As a convenience, the following chart has been developed to serve as a quick reference guide when determining what are and are not appropriate questions to ask on an application or during an interview. Of course, there are other questions that will not be included within this quick reference guide that could be construed as attempting to elicit information for the purpose of discrimination on the basis of a protected category. If you require further information about the legality of certain pre- employment inquiries, refer to M.G.L c. 151B sec. 4, 804 C.M.R. 3.01 et seq., MCAD Handicap Guidelines, or contact the MCAD at (617) 994-6000.
Employer May Ask
Are you under 18?
Questions about age may be allowed if necessary to satisfy provisions of a state or federal law (i.e. certain public safety positions have age limits for hiring and retiring).
Employer May Not Ask
When were you born?