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Lawful Inquiries: Religion, Military, Photo, Citizenship, Education, Conviction

Reference Number: MTAS-1559
Reviewed Date: 12/21/2022

Employers may make inquiries into the following areas:


  • An applicant may be advised concerning normal hours and days of work required by the job to avoid possible conflict with religious or other personal conviction.


  • Type of education and experience in service as it relates to a particular job.


  • A photo may be required after hiring for identification.


  • Whether applicant is prevented from lawfully being employed in this country because of visa or immigration requirements.
  • Whether applicant can provide proof of citizenship (passport), visa, alien registration number after hiring.
  • "If you are not a US citizen, do you have the legal right to remain permanently in the US?",
  • "What is your visa status (if no to the previous question.)",
  • Are you able to provide proof of employment eligibility upon hire?"”

Ancestry of National Origin

  • Languages applicant reads or writes frequently (based on job requirements).


  • Applicant’s academic or professional education, school attended.
  • Inquiry into language skills such as reading, speaking and writing foreign languages (based on job requirements).
  • Applicant’s work experience, names and addresses of previous employers, dates or reasons for leaving and salary history.
  • Other countries visited.


  • Inquiry into the actual convictions that reasonably relate to the applicant’s fitness to perform a particular job. (A conviction is a court ruling where the party is found guilty as charged. An arrest is merely the apprehending or detaining of the person to answer the alleged crime.) If an employer’s exclusionary policy or practice is not job related and consistent with business necessity, the fact that it was adopted to comply with a state or local law or regulation does not shield the employer from Title VII liability.[14]
  • When asking questions about criminal records, limit inquiries to records for which exclusion would be job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity

[14] Int'l Union v. Johnson Controls, Inc.,499 U.S. 187,210 (1991)