Recently, two Human Resource professionals had dinner at a local restaurant. While waiting for their dinner, they noticed a Help Wanted sign – so just for fun they asked for an application. The waitress happily complied and stated that they really needed the help. During dinner they reviewed the blank job application together.

Quickly they noticed problems – here’s an overview of the employment application missteps:

Application Issue Resolution
Personal Information Social Security Number Not needed on an application – though it is not illegal for an employer to ask you for your SSN
Personal Information Date of Birth Not needed on application, could be age discrimination
Citizenship Are you a citizen of the USA? Inquiries about an individual’s citizenship or county of birth are prohibited
Employment Experience Salary or hourly rate of prior job Under Maryland law, employers may not seek wage history information from an applicant or the applicant’s current or former employers.
Education Year Graduated Not needed on the application
Driver’s License License Number DMV records are not needed when completing an application
Criminal Record Have you ever been convicted of a crime Maryland law prohibits certain criminal record screening practices


Employer’s Reality checklist:

  1. Employers are not required to request your Social Security numbers. Once hired, you may need to provide the applicant’s Social Security number and card.
  2. Requesting an applicant’s age or education could be considered age discrimination.
  3. Inquiries about an applicant’s citizenship or country of birth can be perceived as discrimination on the basis the individual’s national origin.
  4. Employers may not seek wage history information from an applicant or rely on wage history in screening applicants.
  5. The law prohibits employers, with 15 or more full-time employees, from requiring an applicant to disclose any criminal record or accusation.

Red Flag: The HR professionals observed that completed job applications were placed in the folder with blank applications. Job candidates’ information left in an unsecured folder could become available for employees and the public to view.

Question: When was the last time you reviewed your application? There can be a high price paid for non-compliance. Application rules have stiff penalties if the employer fails to comply with the law.

Suggestion: It might be time to review your application hiring practices with your HR Professional.

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