The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Inappropriate Pre-Employment Inquiries

Reference Number: MTAS-887
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 07, 2017
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Generally, employers should not ask any question that would illicit information about an applicants race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, genertic information or military status.  Listed below are examples of inappropriate pre-employment inquiries found on employment applications that should not be on your applicaiton. [13]

Without EEOC Disclaimer

  • What is your birth date?
  • What is your birthplace?
  • What was your age on your last birthday?
  • What is your sex?
  • What is your race or ethnic group?
  • Do you have any handicaps or physical defects?

With or Without EEOC Disclaimer

  • Are you known or have you been known by any other name(s)?
  • Which do you prefer: Mr., Mrs., or Ms.?
  • What is your marital status?
  • How many dependants do you have?
  • What is your height and weight?
  • What are the dates of your education and/or degrees?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
  • Do you posses a valid driver’s license?
  • Do you have transportation to work?
  • What were the dates of your military service?
  • What was your rank when you left military service?
  • If claiming veteran’s preference, have you submitted the appropriate documentation?
  • Do you read and write English?
  • What is the lowest pay you will accept?
  • Do you have any relatives employed by the state?
  • Are you willing to travel?
  • Are you willing to work shifts/overtime?
  • Are you willing to lift heavy weights?
  • Do any of your relatives have any disabilities or disorders?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employer may ask questions to determine whether an applicant can perform specific job functions. The questions should focus on the applicant’s ability to perform job, not a disability.


[13] Derbra D. Burrington, "A Review of State Government Application Forms for Suspect Questions," Public Personnel Management Journal, May 1982.

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