Academic Personnel

Guidelines for Pre-Employment Inquiries

Pre-employment inquiries which discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information are prohibited by the University of Washington’s policy and state and federal laws. Further, pre-employment inquiries which objectively convey to a reasonable person that the information will be used in connection with a discriminatory purpose are prohibited. Department administrators/search committees should take the following steps to comply with the University’s equal opportunity policy:

  • Direct all individuals who participate in any part of the hiring pre-employment process to comply with the guidelines provided below.
  • Review all hiring procedures and related forms for compliance with these guidelines.
  • Direct all individuals who make inquiries to obtain candidate information or recommendations to comply with the guidelines below.

Chart for Fair and Unfair Pre-employment Inquiries

Subject Fair Inquiry Unfair Inquiry
Age Inquiry related to birth date and proof of true age. Inquiry that implies an age preference for persons under 40.
Arrest/Conviction Request criminal conviction history information in compliance with UW practices. Other inquiries concerning convictions and imprisonment will not be considered justified by business necessity if they do not reasonably relate to the job duties.
Citizenship Whether applicant can be lawfully employed in this country because of visa or immigration status; whether applicant can provide proof of legal right to work in US after being hired. Whether applicant is a citizen; requirement before hiring that applicant present birth certificate, naturalization, or baptismal record; any inquiry into citizenship that would tend to divulge applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, or birthplace.
Disability Whether applicant can perform the essential functions of the job, with or without reasonable accommodation. Request to describe or demonstrate performance of the essential functions with or without accommodation. Inquiry about nature, severity or extent of a disability or whether an applicant requires reasonable accommodation prior to a conditional job offer. Whether an applicant has applied for or received worker’s compensation. Any inquiry that is not job related or consistent with business necessity.
Family Whether applicant can meet specified work schedules or has activities, commitments, or responsibilities that may prevent meeting work attendance requirements. Specific inquiries concerning spouse, spouse’s gender, spouse’s employment or salary, children, childcare arrangements, or dependents.
Height/Weight None. Any inquiry relating to height or weight.
Marital Status None. Any inquiry about the applicant’s marital status whether an applicant is married, single, divorced, separated, engaged, widowed, has same sex spouse, etc. Any form requesting identification by Mr., Mrs., Miss, or Ms. status.
Military Inquiry concerning education, training, or work experience in the United States military. Type or condition of military discharge, request for discharge papers, an applicant’s experience in a military other than the United States military.
Name Whether applicant has worked under different name, and if so, what name; name applicant is known to references if different from present name. Any other inquiry concerning name which would divulge marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression or gender identity, transgender status or sex assigned at birth, lineage, ancestry, national origin, or descent. Inquiry into original name where it has been changed by court order or marriage.
National Origin Inquiry into ability to read/write/speak foreign language when such inquiries are based on job requirements. Any other inquiry into applicant’s lineage, ancestry, national origin, descent, birthplace, native language, or national origin of an applicant’s parents or spouse.
Photograph None. May request after employment for purpose of identification. Any request; mandatorily, or optionally, for submission of photograph at any time prior to employment.
Pregnancy (see also Disability) Inquiry as to duration of stay on the job or anticipated absences made to males and females alike. Any inquiry related to pregnancy, medical history concerning pregnancy, and related matters.
Race or Color None. Any inquiry concerning race or color of skin, hair, eyes, etc.
Relatives Names of relatives currently employed by University. Any other inquiry about marital status, spouse, or spouse’s occupation.
Religion or Creed None. Inquiry concerning religious preference, denomination, affiliations, church, parish, pastor, or religious holidays observed.
Residence Inquiry about address to the extent needed to facilitate contact with applicant. Any other inquiry regarding with whom applicant resides; whether applicant owns or rents.
Sex None. Any inquiry concerning gender.
Sexual Orientation, Gender Expression or Gender Identity None. Any inquiry regarding sexual orientation, gender expression or sexual identity, transgender status, or sex assigned at birth.