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Are there interviews questions employers are not allowed to ask?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2024 | Employment Law |

When Oregon employers embark on the hiring process, they must navigate a landscape of legal regulations designed to uphold fairness and prevent discrimination. On the other hand, employees must also navigate the hiring process, and where they intersect are the interview questions. And, employees often wonder whether there are any interview questions employers are not allowed to ask.

Legal restrictions

Oregon law imposes clear restrictions on interview questions. Employers are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s salary history, credit history, employment status or criminal history before certain stages of the hiring process. For instance, the state’s “ban the box” law mandates that questions about an applicant’s criminal history be deferred until after the initial interview.

Problematic questions

While some questions may not be explicitly illegal, they can still pose problems if they lead to discriminatory practices. For example, queries about an applicant’s marital status, family plans or religious beliefs could potentially result in discrimination based on gender, family status or religion.

Why some questions are off-limits

The rationale behind restricting certain questions lies in the prevention of discrimination. Inquiries regarding protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion or disability have the potential to influence biased hiring decisions. For instance, asking about an applicant’s age could open the door to age discrimination, while probing into disability status could lead to biased outcomes.


While Oregon employers enjoy latitude in crafting interview questions, they must tread carefully to avoid infringing upon anti-discrimination laws. By understanding and adhering to these guidelines, employers can ensure that their hiring processes remain fair, equitable and legally sound. And, employees can ensure that the process they participate in was similarly fair and equitable.



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