Hiring an employee may seem like a simple process. But when the desire to know everything about a prospective employee intersects with Minnesota law, things become a bit more complicated. Here are a few things to remember when evaluating someone for employment.
1. Interview Questions.
Some topics are completely prohibited, including:
- The applicant’s exact age
- Questions regarding religious affiliation, such as the name of the applicant’s church or any club memberships
- Questions related to the applicant’s marital status or whether the applicant has children or plans to have children
- National Guard or Reserve status
- Whether the applicant has ever been arrested
- Questions regarding the applicant’s credit rating
- The lowest salary the applicant would accept
- Questions related to the applicant’s mental health or mental health history
Other topics are permissible, and may be relevant to your hiring decisions:
- Why the applicant left a previous position
- Job duties at a previous position
- Gaps in the applicant’s employment history
- Reasons the applicant was fired in the past
- Work availability
- What references a previous employer would give
2. Background checks - In Minnesota, a background check is permissible so long as it relates to the position. For example, background checks are required for security guards, teachers, certain counselors, and employees and volunteers at home health care facilities. Other employers may want to conduct a background check depending on the position, like someone handle cash or accounting on a daily basis may require a
3. Drug Testing - In Minnesota, a drug test may only be completed if the employee has been offered the position, and the same tests are given to all prospective employees. Employers must also have a written drug and alcohol testing policy including specific information required by Minnesota law, and potential employees must sign an acknowledgment of this policy before they may be tested.
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