Editor's Note: I think Ken's comment should be of interest to many of you. Thanks.
Ken, VP HR has left a new comment on our post "13 Illegal Interview Questions:Do You Know What To Do":
I think a couple of folks hit the mark on this. These questions are examples of what should not be asked. It is illegal to make employment decisions based on these factors, but once the question is asked it is extremely difficult to say that it was not a factor in the decision. If it really wasn't a factor, then why ask?
I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about what can and cannot be asked. Yes, race, veteran status and disability information can be asked at the time of the application, but it cannot be connected to the application and must be kept separate. This is for government reporting purposes if they ask to see your candidate pool.
They can ask for information after you are offered the position and if the postion requires security clearance or background checks then the offer is contingent upon passing that screening and failing the screening would nullify the offer. It still is wrong to ask prior to making a job offer.