Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668
Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668

Ryan Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC
401 Union Street, Suite 1500
Seattle, WA 98101-2668

News & Articles

Job Interview DO's and DON'Ts

Published on April 27, 2015; Updated March 8, 2021



Subject Permitted Inquiry Unfair Inquiry
Age Birth date & proof of true age – RCW 49.44.090. Inquiry implying preference for person under 40.
Arrests No permitted inquiry until an initial determination that an applicant is otherwise qualified for the position. Law enforcement, financial institutions, among others, are exempt agencies are exempt. RCW 49.94 All inquires concerning arrests and any other aspect of criminal record.
Citizenship Can applicant provide proof of legal right to work in the United States after hire? Whether applicant is citizen. Requiring proof of citizenship pre-hiring. Inquiry re: applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, or birthplace.
Convictions No permitted inquiry until a determination that an applicant meets minimum qualifications for the position. Law enforcement, financial institutions, among others, are exempt agencies are exempt. RCW 49.94. All inquiries concerning arrests, convictions and any other aspect of criminal record unless exemption applies or conviction is reasonably related to job duties and occurred within last ten years.
Family Questions regarding whether applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities, commitments or responsibilities which prevent him/her from meeting attendance requirements. Specific questions concerning spouse, spouse’s employment or salary, children, child care arrangements, or dependents.
Disability Whether applicant is able to perform the essential functions of the job (with or without accommodation). Inquiries about the nature, severity or extent of a disability, whether worker has received workers compensation, whether applicant requires reasonable accommodation before a conditional job offer; Generalized inquiries which tend to divulge disabilities or health conditions that are not reasonably related to applicant’s fitness to perform the job (e.g., do you have any disabilities?).
Height and Weight Questions regarding ability to perform actual job requirements. Certain height and weight requirements will not be considered job requirement unless the employer can demonstrate that no employee with an ineligible height or weight could perform the work. Any inquiry which is not actually based on job requirements and not consistent with a business necessity.
Marital Status None. ( ) Mr.
( ) Mrs.
( ) Miss
( ) Ms.
Whether the applicant is married, single, divorced, separated, engaged, widowed, etc.
Military Questions regarding education, training, work experience in the U.S. armed forces. Type or condition of military discharge. Applicant’s experience in military other than U.S. Armed Forces. Request for discharge papers.
Name Whether applicant has worked for the company or a competitor under a different name and, if so, what name. Name under which applicant is known to references, if different from present name. Questions regarding original name (if it has been changed); inquiries about a name which would divulge marital status, lineage, ancestry, national origin, or descent.
National Origin Inquiries regarding applicant’s ability to read, write and speak foreign languages, if such inquiry is based on job requirement. Questions regarding applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, birthplace or mother tongue, national origin of applicant’s parents or spouse.
Organizations Inquiry into organization memberships, excluding any organization the name or character of which indicates 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/she belongs.
Photographs May be requested after hiring for identification purposes. Requiring a photo prior to hiring.
Pregnancy Questions re: duration of stay on job or anticipated absences so long as made to both male & female applicants. Questions as to pregnancy, medical history re: pregnancy and related matters.
Race or Color None. Any questions concerning race or color of skin, hair, eyes, etc.
Relatives Name of applicant’s relatives already employed by company or any competitor. Names and addresses of any relative other than those listed as proper.
Religion or Creed None. Questions re: applicant’s religious denomination, affiliations, church, parish, pastor or religious holidays observed.
Residence Questions re: address to facilitate contacting the applicant. Names or relationships of persons with whom the applicant resides; whether the applicant rents or owns.
Sex None. Any inquiry concerning gender is prohibited.
Sexual Orientation, Gender Expression or Gender Identity None. Any inquiry concerning sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, transgender status, or sex assigned at birth is prohibited.

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This message has been created by the Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Group at Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC to advise of recent developments in the law. Because each situation is different, this information is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any specific facts and circumstances. Ryan, Swanson & Cleveland, PLLC is a full-service law firm located in Seattle, Washington.

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