Kansas Human Rights Commission

 

GUIDELINES ON EQUAL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES:
PREVENTING DISCRIMINATION IN HIRING

The Kansas Human Rights Commission enforces state civil rights laws which prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, or age in written and unwritten policies and practices including job advertisements, benefits, demotion, discharge, discipline, harassment, hiring, layoff, maternity, promotion, recall, references, unfavorable reinstatement, involuntary retirement, suspension, terms, training, union representation and wages. 

WHAT THE COMMISSION DOES

The KHRC administers these laws in several ways:

EMPLOYEE SELECTION PROCESS
Understanding employment law is crucial for the employee selection process, as it is the goal of the employer to hire the most qualified individual, in the most equitable manner.

In order to facilitate fair and impartial interviews, the following guidelines have been prepared to help interviewers select employees on the basis of merit and job competency, exploring areas of skill, experience, and personal characteristics that relate to actual job performance.

WHO IS REGULATED

UNDERSTANDING TERMS

ADVERTISING

When advertising, an employer should:

BEFORE INTERVIEWING

The following tips may be helpful to ensure successful interviews of job applicants:

QUESTIONS TO ASK
The pre-employment interview should elicit as much information as possible concerning the applicants potential to fulfill the requirements of the job applied for.  An objective interview provides the best perspective from which to determine the knowledge, skill, and abilities of an applicant. Some areas of questioning are relevant and necessary when exploring an applicant's qualifications for a position.  The following areas of inquiry are acceptable:

PRE/POST EMPLOYMENT TESTING
In general, an employer should not use any testing or selection procedure that has an adverse impact on members of racial, ethnic, or gender groups.

DRUGS
After an offer of employment has been made, an employer may require the applicant to submit to a drug test, as long as:

MEDICAL
After an offer of employment has been made, an employer may require a medical examination, an inquiry, or both, as long as:

LIE DETECTOR (POLYGRAPH)
Kansas law prohibits requiring any employee or applicant to submit to a polygraph test, and from discharging, disciplining, or discriminating against an employee or applicant for refusing to take a polygraph test. However, polygraph tests may be administered, subject to certain restrictions.

EMPLOYMENT INQUIRY GUIDELINES
The Civil Rights Act of 1964, under the provisions of Title VII, does not expressly prohibit the use of any specific interview question. However, both federal and state wage laws prohibit employers from making any pre-employment inquiry which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification, or discrimination, because of race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, disability or age, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification.  Information obtained through application forms or interviews is presumed to be used by the employer in making selection and assignment decisions.  For this reason, only those inquiries needed to determine an applicants eligibility for employment should be made.

For clarification of specific areas of pre-employment inquiries, the following chart has been provided:

 

 

ACCEPTABLE INQUIRIES INADVISABLE INQUIRIES
ADDRESS Asking the applicant's address and/or names of persons residing with applicant may be requested for compliance with nepotism policies. Any inquiries which might indicate the national origin or ethnicity of an applicant, or the relationship of persons with whom the applicant lives.
AGE, DATE OF BIRTH Inquiry into age, when age is a legal requirement, is acceptable. When age is not legally required, questions regarding age must be avoided.
ANCESTRY, BIRTHPLACE, NATIONAL ORIGIN None. Asking about an applicant's lineage, national origin, descent, birthplace, or native language.
ARRESTS None. Any inquiry into number or kinds of arrests.
AVAILABILITY FOR WEEKEND/EVENING WORK Acceptable if a valid business necessity and asked of all applicants. Any inquiry regarding religious observance.
CITIZENSHIP If U.S. citizenship is a legal requirement, inquiry about an applicant's citizenship is permissible. Any inquiry which would indicate the birthplace of the applicant or the applicant's relatives.
CHILD CARE Inquiry into applicant's ability to meet required work schedules. Any inquiry which would indicate marital status, child care arrangements or pregnancy.
CONVICTION RECORD Inquiry into conviction record if job related. Any inquiry that is not substantially related to applicant's ability to perform job duties.
DISABILITY Inquiry into the ability of an applicant to perform the essential job functions of a position.  It is permissible to ask for a demonstration or verbal description of how the applicant would perform essential job duties, if asked of all applicants. No disability or health related inquiries or medical examinations may be required of an applicant until after an offer of employment has been made.
PHOTOGRAPH Requiring an applicant to be photographed for purposes of identification after hiring selection is made. Any requirement that a photograph be supplied before hiring.
EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE Inquiry into education level, academic, vocational or professional schools attended. Any inquiry which might indicate the national, racial, or religious affiliation of a school or dates of attendance or graduation.
FINANCIAL STATUS, CREDIT RECORD Use of credit reports when hiring new employees, evaluating employees for promotion, reassignment, and retention as long as employer complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1997. Inquiries concerning financial stability and/or use of credit reports may be challenged as disparately impacting on and unlawfully discriminating against a legally protected group.
HEIGHT, WEIGHT Inquiry is permissible only when the employer can prove that height or weight is directly related to a job requirement. Any inquiry not related to abilities necessary to perform substantial job duties.
LANGUAGE Inquiry into languages an applicant reads, speaks or writes if knowledge of a specific language is a valid business necessity. Inquiry into lineage, national origin, descent, birthplace, or native language.  Prohibitions against speaking a language other than English on the job unless business necessity has been established.
MARITAL OR FAMILY STATUS Inquiry into applicant's ability to meet required work schedules, and/or the ability to travel. Any inquiry which would indicate marital status, information about children, child care or pregnancy.
MILITARY SERVICE Inquiry into education or experience gained that relates to specific job duties. Any inquiry regarding the type of discharge, or any non-job-related inquiry.
NAME Inquiry about other names an applicant has worked under. Inquiries which might indicate lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, or marital status.
NOTIFY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY Inquiry into name and address of person(s) to be notified in case of an emergency may be requested after hiring selection is made. Any inquiry into the name/address of relative(s).
ORGANIZATIONS Inquiry into organizations are permissible only if they contribute to the applicant's ability to perform the job. Inquiry into the name of an organization that might reveal the religious, racial, or ethnic affiliation of the organization.
REFERENCES Inquiry into names and addresses of an applicant's professional and/or character references. Any requirement that a specific individual provide a reference for the applicant.
RELIGION Informing prospective employees of normal days and hours of work required for the position. Any inquiry that might indicate the applicant's religious practices or customs.
SEX Inquiry is permissible only when the employer has proven that a bona fide occupational qualification exists and that all members of the affected class are unable to perform the job. Any inquiry regarding the gender of an applicant if no established bona fide occupational qualification exists.
WORKER'S COMPENSATION None. Any inquiry into past workers compensation claims.

ATTENTION! This guide is to assist employers and applicants in understanding state laws as they apply to pre-employment inquiries.  It is not intended to provide an exhaustive compilation of all acceptable and inadvisable inquiries.  The questions considered inadvisable are likely to limit the employment opportunities of persons protected by the Kansas Act Against Discrimination, and may constitute evidence of unlawful discrimination.