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Bride and Groom with young man in a wheelchair

Marital Status

Can Employer Ask if I am Married?

In some instances, particularly in filling supervisory or confidential positions, an employer may be able to justify not hiring an individual whose spouse is already working for that employer. These are narrow exceptions, however, and an employer needlessly exposes itself to discrimination charges or litigation when such information is routinely requested, without regard for the position being filled or the stage of the hiring process at which the information is sought. Although it is generally advisable that an employer drop the question, each employer may anticipate the potential value and legal consequences, respectively, of its use.

Employers cite difficulties in verifying a woman's background without requesting that she furnish a birth name. A "maiden" name inquiry singles out women (men, too, may legally change their names); it also may reveal a woman's marital status. If it is necessary to pursue this information at such an early stage in the hiring process (which, in practice, seems unlikely), all applicants may be requested to indicate any other name/s by which former employer/s, schools or branch of military service, named on the application, would identify the applicant.

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