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Employers can only ask you questions that are relevant

When preparing yourself for an interview, you are trying to figure out what the employer is going to ask so that you can answer quickly, accurately and confidently. However, it's important to think about what you may be asked for more than just having a solid answer on the tip of your tongue. You also need to make sure your rights aren't violated.

During the interview, the potential employer can only ask you relevant questions that are related to your background, your skills, your education and your qualifications for the job.

Typically, employers are barred from asking personal questions. For example, you shouldn't be asked what religion you are or what type of faith your family has. You shouldn't be asked about your marital status or your sexual orientation.

Information about arrests may also be off limits, though there are exceptions to this rule. For example, it's illegal for someone with a felony to carry a gun, so you may be asked if you have any felony convictions if you're applying for a job where you'd need a gun -- such as a military position or a job with law enforcement.

Of course, some of this information may come up naturally, but you have to volunteer it in most cases. The employer is not allowed to ask for it and if something is mentioned during the interview in a legal fashion, the employer usually can't make the hiring decision based on that information.

Have you been in an interview where personal questions were asked or were you denied a job -- or a promotion -- because of the answers you gave? If so, your rights may have been violated, and you need to know about your legal options.

Source: State Bar of California, "What Are My Rights As An Employee?," accessed Oct. 10, 2016

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