The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Lawful Inquiries: Sex, Race, Residence, Birthplace

Reference Number: MTAS-1557
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 07, 2017
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Employers may make inquiries into the following areas:
 
Sex
  • Inquiry or restriction in employment is permissible only where a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exists. The bona fide exception is interpreted very narrowly by the courts and the EEOC and is defined as being based on the need for the individual to be a particular sex.
  • The burden of proof rests on the employer to prove that a bona fide occupational qualification does exist and that all members of the affected class are incapable of performing the job.

Applicant's Race

  • NONE but may ask about:
  • General distinguishing physical characteristics such as scars, etc.

Address or Duration of Residence

  • Applicant’s address.
  • Inquiry into place and length of previous address.
  • Length of time a resident of this state or city.

Birthplace

  • Are you either a U.S. citizen or an alien authorized to work in the United States?
  • “Can you, after employment, submit a birth certificate, other proof of U.S. citizenship or authorization to work documents?”
Responsible: