Interviewing: Can an employer ask a job applicant about political party preferences during a job interview?


March 22, 2018

Under the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, federal agency employers are prohibited from asking political party preference questions of federal employees and applicants. Although currently there are no federal laws that prohibit private employers from asking political affiliation questions, such questions could potentially trigger a discrimination claim. To reduce the risk of liability, employers should not ask any questions unrelated to the performance of a job. Employers should also check their state laws, which may prohibit discrimination based on political affiliation, activity or belief.

Further guidance on federal laws prohibiting job discrimination can be found on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website. 

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