Missouri Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing) laws & HR compliance analysis

Missouri Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing): What you need to know

The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age (40 to 70 years), or disability. The MHRA specifically provides that applicants should not be asked about any of these characteristics, either on an application form or in an interview, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) (MO Rev. Stat. Sec. 213.055). The MHRA covers private employers with six or more employees and all state and local government agencies, regardless of size.
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Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) policy. A separate law expressly states that the provisions of the MHRA apply to individuals with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, AIDS, and AIDS-related complex (MO Rev. Stat. Sec. 191.665). Employers are prohibited from discriminating against individuals protected under the law, unless a particular individual is unable to perform job duties or poses a direct threat to the health of others.
Off-duty activities. Under state law, an employer may not discriminate based on an individual's lawful use of alcohol or tobacco products during nonworking hours while away from the employer's premises (MO Rev Stat. Sec. 290.145). Questions about an applicant's off-duty activities should be avoided.
Administrative rules adopted by the Missouri Commission on Human Rights permit employment inquiries based on sex, religion, or national origin only in those situations in which the essence of the business would be undermined by not excluding persons based on their sex, religion, or national origin. For example, being female would be a legitimate BFOQ for a person applying for a job as a model of women's ...

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