Total Talent Management

Fair pre-employment inquiry

Guidelines to fair pre-employment inquiries

To comply with federal and state laws and University Administrative Policy Statements 46.1, hiring officials must ensure that all pre-employment inquires made of job applicants, whether written or oral, are “fair”.

Pre-employment inquiries which discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or status as a protected veteran are prohibited by the University’s equal opportunity policy. Pre-employment inquiries that objectively cause a reasonable person to think that the information will be used for a discriminatory purpose are prohibited.

Department administrators should take the following steps to comply with UW’s equal opportunity policy:

  • Direct all individuals who participate in any part of the hiring pre-employment process to comply with the guidelines provided below.
  • Review all hiring procedures and related forms for compliance with these guidelines.
  • Direct all individuals who make inquiries to obtain applicant information or recommendations to comply with the guidelines below.

Note: The guidelines chart applies to inquiries made of all applicants to UW. This includes contract-classified, classified, professional, academic, temporary, student, or any other employee type within the University.

Fair and Unfair Pre-employment Inquiries
Subject Fair Inquiry Unfair Inquiry
Age Inquiry related to birth date and proof of true age. Inquiry that implies an age preference for persons under 40.
Arrest/Conviction Request criminal conviction history information in compliance with UW practices.
Citizenship Whether an applicant can be lawfully employed in this country because of visa or immigration status and; whether an applicant can provide proof of legal right to work in US after being hired. Whether applicant is a citizen; before hire requiring an applicant to present birth certificate, naturalization, or baptismal record. Any inquiry into citizenship that would tend to divulge applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, or birthplace.
Disability Whether applicant can perform the essential functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation. Request to describe or demonstrate performance of the essential functions with or without accommodation. Inquiry about nature, severity, or extent of a disability, or whether an applicant requires reasonable accommodation prior to a conditional job offer. Whether an applicant has applied for or received worker’s compensation. Any inquiry that is not job related or consistent with business necessity.
Family Whether applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities, commitments, or responsibilities that may prevent meeting work attendance requirements. Specific inquiries concerning spouse, spouse’s gender, spouse’s employment or salary, children, childcare arrangements, or dependents.
Height/Weight None. Any inquiry relating to height or weight.
Marital Status None. Any inquiry about the applicant’s marital status whether an applicant is married, single, divorced, separated, engaged, widowed, has a same sex spouse etc. Any form requesting identification by Mr, Mrs, Miss, or Ms status.
Military Inquiry concerning education, training, or work experience in the US military. Type or condition of military discharge, request for discharge papers, an applicant’s experience in a military other than the United States military.
Name Whether applicant has worked under different name, and if so, what name. Name by which applicant is known to employment references if different from present name. Any other inquiry concerning name which would divulge marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, transgender status or sex assigned at birth, lineage, ancestry, national origin, or descent. Inquiry into original name where it has been changed by court order or marriage.
National Origin Inquiry into ability to read/write/speak foreign language when the foreign language is a job requirement. Any other inquiry into applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, birthplace, native language, or national origin of an applicant’s parents or spouse.
Organizations Inquiry into organization memberships, excluding any organization the name or character of which indicates the race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, marital status, religion, or national origin or ancestry of its members. Requirement that applicant list all organizations, clubs, societies, and lodges to which he or she belongs.
Photograph None. May request after employment for purpose of identification. Any request for submission of photograph at any time prior to employment.
Pregnancy (see also Disability) Inquiry as to duration of stay on the job or anticipated absences made to males and females alike. Any inquiry related to pregnancy, medical history concerning pregnancy, and related matters.
Race or Color None. Any inquiry concerning race or color.
Relatives Names of relatives currently employed by University. Any other inquiry about marital status, spouse, or spouse’s occupation.
Religion or Creed None. Inquiry concerning religious preference, denomination, affiliations, church, parish, pastor, or religious holidays observed.
Residence Inquiry about address sufficient to facilitate contact with applicant. Any other inquiry regarding with whom applicant resides; whether applicant owns or rents.
Sex None. Any inquiry concerning gender.
Sexual Orientation, Gender Expression or Gender Identity None. Any inquiry regarding sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity, transgender status, or sex assigned at birth.