Inquiring Employers Want to Know

The following information is sometimes requested on standard employment applications, though job candidates might consider some of it to be private or personal. 

Which of the following items about an employee might an employer have a legitimate claim to know, and why? 

  • A job applicant’s social security number
  • An applicant’s arrest record
  • An employee’s medical records
  • An employee’s marital status
  • Whether a job applicant smokes
  • An employee’s political affiliation
  • An employee’s sexual orientation
  • An employee’s credit rating

Consider the following questions in the assessment of this scenario:

  1. What facts are relevant to your decisions?
  2. What would the consequences be of refusing to answer any questions on an employment application?
  3. Are you basing your decision on particular rights of the employee or the employer?
  4. Are there people other than the employer and employee who might have a stake in what information is released to employers?

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