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Few people look forward to applying for a job. The process can be a trying one filled with difficult questions. Some questions simply should not be asked, however.

A recent article in a southern California newspaper points out that employers in our state should stay away from asking applicants to identify or describe disabilities they might have. Asking job applicants about disabilities can indicate that an employer wants to weed out applicants with disabilities.

The article in the Union-Tribune was penned by a lawyer who defends employers in employment law litigation.

He urges employers not to ask about disabilities, but rather to ask applicants if they “would be able to perform the essential functions of the job for which he or she is applying.”

Another question for employers to avoid: asking applicants to identify their nation of origin. If a company asks applicants to name their nation of origin, it can appear that the employer wants to eliminate for consideration applicants from X, Y or Z.

Employers are urged to instead ask applicants if they are legally eligible to work in the U.S.

The lawyer also urges employers not to ask about arrests that did not result in convictions. Also, he urges them not to pose questions “about minor marijuana-related convictions more than two years old.”

Employers who infringe on rights or privacy on a job application might well be inclined to do so in matters such as hiring, promotions, raises, Family Medical Leave Act policies and related areas. You can discuss your situation with an experienced attorney by contacting the California Civil Rights Law Group and scheduling an appointment.