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Business and commercial law: Interviewing job candidates legally

There exist an untold number of potentially catastrophic missteps business owners can make. Looking at them one at a time is a great way to understand these mistakes and take the proper steps to avoid them altogether. One often-overlooked area of concern is properly choosing candidates for employment in your business.

In the field of business and commercial law, failing to protect the rights of potential and existing employees can get you into legal trouble. Your duty to protect a job candidate's rights starts with the interview process. To ensure that you remain in compliance with current business and commercial laws, it is critical to avoid the following topics in your candidate interviews.

  • Age: Stay away from topics about the age of your candidates. Instead, ask if the candidate is at least 18 years of age for the purposes of employment.
  • National origin: Just about the only thing you need to know is whether or not your candidate is able to work in America legally. However, it is acceptable to ask about language fluency as long as it relates to job performance.
  • Race: Never ask your candidates about their race or their "color" as these types of questions are not legal.
  • Religion: Go no further than asking your candidates if they are able to work on weekends, which may be a problem with some religions.
  • Gender: It is wise to forego any questions or topics related to a candidate's gender during your interviews.

The list above contains just a sample of interview subjects best avoided. To develop questions that do not violate anyone's rights, consider consulting with a lawyer who understands employment, business and commercial law in Minnesota.

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