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Lawful and Unlawful Inquiries

It is unlawful to ask questions whose answers will indirectly reveal information as to race, creed, national origin, sex, marital status, parental status, birth control, disability, age, or arrest record in cases where such arrest information may not be asked directly. Some exceptions apply (bona fide occupational qualification, approved minority employment plans, requirements of courts and other governmental agencies, research by civil service departments, inquiries made after research by civil service departments, inquiries made after selection). In making such rulings, the Division has applied a rule of reason, taking into account the need for the information asked as well as the danger that it will reveal other information that should not be considered in selection. The following are Division rulings on inquiries indirectly revelatory or race, creed, color, national origin, sex, marital status, disability or age:

Lawful/Unlawful Questions
Address or Duration of Residence
Applicant's place of residence, how long a resident of this State or City?
Are you under 18 years or older? Are you between the ages of 18 and 65? If not, state your age.
How old are you? What is your date of birth? What are the ages of your children, if any?
Arrest Record
Have you ever been convicted of a crime? (Specify)
Have you ever been arrested?
Requirement that applicant produce proof of age in form of a birth certificate or baptismal record.
Birth Control
Inquiry as to the capacity to produce, advocacy of any form of birth control or family planning
Birthplace of applicant, birthplace of applicant's parents, spouse, or other close relatives.
Are you a citizen of the United States? If not a citizen of the United States, do you intend to become one? If you are not a United States citizen do you have the legal rights to remain permanently in the United States? Requirements that applicant state whether he or she has ever been arrested or interned as an enemy alien
Of what country are you a citizen? Whether an applicant is naturalized or a native born citizen; the date when the applicant acquired the citizenship. Requirement that the applicant produces naturalization papers or first papers. Whether applicant's parents or spouse are naturalized or native born citizens of the United States; the date when such parents or spouse acquired citizenships.
Do you have a disability? Have you ever been treated for one of the following diseases...Do you have now or have had a drug/alcohol problem?
Driver's License
Do you possess a valid NYS Driver's License? Requirement that applicant can produce a valid driver's license
Inquiry into the applicant's academic, vocational or professional education and the public and private school attended
Inquiry into work experience
Inquiry into the languages the applicant speaks or writes fluently.
What is your native language? Inquiry into how applicant acquired ability to write, read or speak a foreign language.
Marital Status
Do you wish to be addressed as Miss? Mrs.? Are you married? Single? Divorced? Separated?
Military Experience
Inquiry into the applicant's military experience in the armed forces of the United States or in a State Militia. Inquiry into the applicant's service in a particular branch of the United States Army, Navy, etc. Did you receive a dishonorable discharge? Inquiries regarding military service should be accompanied by a statement that a dishonorable discharge is not an absolute bar to employment and that other factors will affect final decision.
Inquired into the applicant's military experience other than in the armed forces or United States Militia
Have you ever worked for this company under a different name? is additional information relative to change of name, use an assumed name or nickname necessary to enable a check on your work record? if yes, please explain
Original names of an applicant whose names have been changed by court order or otherwise. Maiden name of a married woman. If you've ever worked under another name, State name, dates addresses.
National Origin
Inquiry into the applicants lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, parentage or nationality. Nationality of applicant's parents or spouse. What is your mother's tongue?
Notice in case of Emergency
Name and address of person to be notified in case of an accident or emergency.
Inquiry into the applicant's membership in the organizations which the applicant considers relevant to his/her ability to perform the job
List all clubs, societies and lodges to which you belong
Parental Status
What are the ages of your children if any?
Requirement or option that an applicant affix a photograph to employment form at any time before hiring.
Name of applicant's relatives already employed by the company.
Number, names, addresses and ages of applicant's spouse, children or relatives not employed by the company.,
Religion or Creed
Inquiry into the applicant's religious denomination, religious affiliations, church, parish, pastor, or religious holidays observed. Applicants may not be told "This is Catholic, Jewish, Protestant) organization.
Inquiry as to sex or gender.
Name or other information about spouse.

*(It is unlawful to inquire, either directly or indirectly, about an applicant's disabilities. An employer may inquire only whether a prospective employee can perform specific tasks in a reasonable manner or whether he/she requires any special accommodations in order to perform these tasks. An employer may not disqualify an applicant/employee because of suspected future risk to his/her health by performing a specific job.)

The above limitations apply equally to questions which may be asked of an employee who applies for or is under consideration for promotion, transfer, upgrading etc. The limitations also apply equally to questions asked by prospective employer, either orally, by telephone, in writing or otherwise, of a former employer, with reference to an applicant or a person under consideration for employment.