The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Unlawful Inquiries: Name, Family Status, Age, Disabilities

Reference Number: MTAS-1556
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 07, 2016

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Name

  • Inquiries about the name that would indicate applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin or descent.
  • Inquiry into previous name of applicant, whether it has been changed by court order or otherwise.
  • Indicate: Miss, Mrs., or Ms.

Marital/Family Status

  • Any inquiry indicating whether an applicant is married, single, divorced, engaged, etc.
  • Number and age of children.
  • Information on child-care arrangements
  • Any questions concerning pregnancy.
  • Any questions that directly or indirectly result in limitation of job opportunity in any way.

Age

  • How old are you?
  • When is your birthday?
  • What year did you graduate from high school?
  • Requirements that applicants produce proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or baptismal record.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids discrimination against persons over the age of 40. 

Disabilities

  • The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids employers from asking job applicants general questions about whether they are "handicapped/disabled" or asking them about the nature and severity of their "handicap/disability".
  • An interviewer may not ask questions about a disability.
  • Where an applicant has a visible disability or volunteered information about a disability, the interviewer may not ask questions about:
    • ​The nature of the disability;
    • The severity of the disability;
    • The condition causing the disability;
    • Any prognosis or expectation regarding the condition or disability;
    • Whether the individual will need treatment or special leave because of the disability; or.
    • Whether the applicant needs accommodations.
  • ​An interviewer may not ask questions about the results of an individual's or family member's genetic tests.
  • An employer must be prepared to prove that any physical and mental requirements for a job are due to “business necessity” and the safe performance of the job.
  • Except in cases where undue hardship can be proven, employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for the physical and mental limitations of an employee or applicant. 
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