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Lawful or Unlawful Questions on an Application Form

Take a look at each question below and ask yourself if it is lawful to ask for that information on an application form, or if asking that question could lead to unlawful results. Is it lawful to ask applicants to provide their age on an application form - Yes or No? Why? Is it lawful to ask about educational attainment: Yes or No? Why? Do not explain circumstances under which an unlawful question could be made lawful.

With some of these questions, it's not necessarily the question itself that is unlawful. Ask yourself if the question could lead to divulging information that would have an unlawful effect.

Lawful or Unlawful?
Previous arrests
Previous felony convictions
Distance between work and residence
Domestic responsibilities
Previous work experience
Educational attainment
High school favorite subjects
Grade point average
Received workers' compensation in past
Currently receiving workers' compensation
Child care arrangements
Length of time on previous job
Reason for leaving previous job
Home ownership
Any current medical problems
History of mental illness
OK to seek references from previous employer?
Have you provided complete/truthful information?
Native language
Willing to work on Easter and Christmas
Get recommendation from pastor/priest

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Solution Preview

1. Birthplace Unlawful
It is illegal to ask about a person's birthplace, because it references a person's national origin. This reference could be used to discriminate against a person who is not a natural born citizen of the United States.

2. Previous arrests Unlawful
It is improper to ask questions about arrest records. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) takes this position because statistics show that the arrest rates for minorities are higher than that of whites, thus making the question unfair. Not all arrests are convictions of a crime and therefore off limits.

3. Previous felony convictions Lawful
The employer can ask if the applicant has been convicted of a felony. Thy must be able to show that the questioning is related to the job. Convictions are lawful to ask about

4. Distance between work and residence Lawful
This is a question that employees may ask to determine reliability. It is not considered discriminatory so it can be asked .

5. Domestic responsibilities Unlawful
This would be an unlawful question because it can be used to determine gender. Gender questions can be used as a basis of discrimination.

6. Height Unlawful
The height of an individual is irrelevant to a positon. Many states have laws prohibiting discrimination based on height

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Solution Summary

This is an 824 word solution that outlines lawful and unlawful questions related to an application form. The answers explain whether various questions on application forms can be used. There are a total of 26 questions covered in this solution.