Compliance with employment law starts with the hiring process. From posting a job to
conducting interviews to selecting candidates, it’s important to stay conscious of both state and
federal regulations so you can avoid violations and fines.
The hiring process can go smoothly, as long as you observe the following five guidelines as you
put together the advertisement and the interview questions in order to stay in compliance.
1. Check Your Job Description for ADA Compliance
Your job listing cannot be discriminatory. To stay in compliance with the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA), the phrases included in the job listing must be chosen carefully. For
example, instead of “walk around” the office, opt for “move around.” Instead of using the
words “talk” or “hear,” choose “communicate.”
Physical conditions are considered disabilities, but so are chronic illnesses like AIDS and
cancer, along with mental disorders like schizophrenia. To stay in compliance, employers are
required to treat any job applicant with a disability the same as all other candidates.
2. Avoid All Mention of Race, Ethnicity and Citizenship Status
During the interview, never ask about an applicant’s ethnic origins or comment on their name
or appearance. Even asking about their language proficiency can be construed as
You are allowed to ask them to complete Form I-9, which verifies the identity and eligibility
of a worker to be hired in the U.S., but requesting any additional documentation is
3. Never Mention a Woman’s Pregnancy
Employers are not allowed to deny a position to a woman based on her pregnancy or a
condition related to her pregnancy, as this is gender-based discrimination.
You may be hoping to hire an employee who plans on staying with the company for the long
term, but you cannot ask specific questions about a candidate’s current or future pregnancies.
You can ask general questions about her future plans to gauge her commitment level, but stay
away from all inquiries into her personal life.
4. Don’t Talk About Age
Employers are not allowed to make assumptions about a person’s capabilities based on their
age. You cannot ask how old candidates are, and you cannot ask questions that may be
misconstrued as an age-related inquiry, such as asking about their retirement plans or what
year they graduated.
5. Ignore all Social Connections
All social groups or clubs, including political party memberships or religious affiliations,
must not be mentioned in the interview in order to stay in compliance. Even if you are simply
trying to be friendly and make conversation, any questions that veer outside of the main topic
can be viewed as discriminatory, good intentions or not.
Only ask questions that relate to the individual’s ability to meet the duties and responsibilities
of the position and you will stay in compliance with both local and federal law.
If you need assistance with hiring and want to ensure your organization stays in full compliance
with all state and federal laws and regulations, trust WTA to manage this process, add new hires to your team and help assure your company’s success.