Protected classes. The Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits questions on application forms or in job interviews that directly or indirectly ask about an applicant's race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, age (40 years of age or older), or ancestry, unless the characteristic is a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) (R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-5-1 et seq.). The law covers all public employers and private employers with four or more employees.
A guideline issued by the Rhode Island Commission for Human Rights provides information for employers about lawful and unlawful preemployment inquiries. The guideline is available through the Commission's website at http://www.richr.ri.gov
Employers may not request information or make any record regarding a protected characteristic (e.g., race), unless the inquiry or record is supported by a BFOQ or federal affirmative action plan requirement (R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-5-7(4)).
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) policy. It is unlawful to discriminate against an individual who has, or is perceived to have, tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Testing requires an individual's informed consent (R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-6.3-11).
Genetic information. Employers are prohibited from requesting or requiring an applicant to undergo genetic testing or discriminating against applicants or employees on the basis of genetic test results (R.I. Gen. Laws § 28-6.7-1).
Criminal history. The state's fair employment law prohibits questions on application forms or in job interviews that directly or indirectly ask about any arrest, charge, or conviction for any crime (R.I. ...