Most truck drivers already know that recruiters look very closely at your work history and your personal life during the interview stage. Jobs for truckers are based on skills, reputation and lifestyles, so they may actually find out more than an HR rep would for a regular desk job. Still, there are a few things that are illegal for them to ask you.
Any questions that reveal your age, race, national origin, gender, religion, marital status and sexual orientation are off-limits. While it won’t gain you any points during the hiring process, any questions based on the previous can be answered with, “I’m not comfortable answering that question.”
“State and federal laws make discrimination based on certain protected categories, such as national origin, citizenship, age, marital status, disabilities, arrest and conviction record, military discharge status, race, gender, or pregnancy status, illegal. Any question that asks a candidate to reveal information about such topics without the question having a job related basis will violate the various state and federal discrimination laws,” Lori Adelson, a labor and employment attorney and partner with law firm Arnstein & Lehr, told us.
“However, if the employer states questions so they directly related to specific occupational qualifications, then the questions may be legitimate. Clearly, the intent behind the question needs to be examined.
If you are asked any inappropriate questions, Adelson advises not to lie, but, instead, politely decline to answer.
“Could they not give you a job because of that? Sure,” Adelson says. “But if they decline to employ you based specifically on your refusal to answer an illegal question, they would be doing exactly what they’re not supposed to do. You would have cause to seek legal counsel over their decision.”
We asked Adelson to provide us with some illegal interview questions that are often mistaken as appropriate and judicial.
Are you married?
Although the interviewer may ask you this question to see how much time you’d be able to commit to your job, it’s illegal because it reveals your marital status and can also reveal your sexual orientation.
Do you have any outstanding debt?
Employers have to have permission before asking about your credit history and, like a criminal background history, they can’t disqualify you from employment unless it directly affects your ability to perform the position you’re interviewing for. Similarly, they can’t ask you how well you balance your personal finances.
Do you socially drink?
Employers cannot ask about your drinking, because these inquiries are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. For example, if you’re a recovering alcoholic, treatment of alcoholism is protected under this act and you don’t have to disclose any disability information before landing an official job offer.
Have any of you truckers been asked some uncomfortable questions during the hiring process? How did you handle it? Did the company decide to hire you anyway? Let us know!