How to Best Ask about Work Related Injuries

How to Best Ask about Work Related Injuries

Interviewers should not ask a candidate about any injury, work-related or otherwise.

Interviewers should stay clear of questions that solicit information about a candidate’s protected categories, such as national origin, marital status, religion, or disability.  By asking a candidate whether they ever suffered a work-related injury invites the candidate to describe injuries that may be, or may be perceived as, qualified disabilities under the law.  Should the employer deny the candidate employment after learning this information, the employer exposes itself to claims of disability discrimination.  If, however, there is legitimate information regarding the candidate or his/her work history that the employer must know to ensure that the candidate can safely and effectively perform the essential functions of the job, such as the candidate’s history of safety compliance in a highly specialized industry, an employer would be wise to obtain the candidate’s safety record.  Rather than raise this issue during the interview, it is recommended to obtain such information from an official source with the candidate’s consent – maybe even after a conditional offer of employment has been made.  The employer should create clear and specific policies for obtaining such information to avoid inconsistent treatment of candidates.

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