North Carolina Application Forms laws & HR compliance analysis

North Carolina Application Forms: What you need to know

Under the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act, it is the public policy of the state to protect and safeguard the right of all persons to seek, obtain, and hold employment without discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or handicap (NC Gen. Stat. Sec. 143-422.2). There are no prohibitions in this statute concerning application forms. A separate statute prohibits employers from asking questions about disabilities until a conditional offer of employment has been made (NC Gen. Stat. Sec. 168A-5). Generally, unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) applies, an employer should refrain from asking about an individual's race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, and marital status because federal law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), provides protection for job applicants.
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Under federal law, the BFOQ exception allows an employer to make an employment inquiry only where the inquiry is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business and there is no less intrusive way to ensure that the applicant will be able to perform the essential functions of the job in question. In order to be a BFOQ, a characteristic must be absolutely essential to the applicant's ability to perform the job. For example, being female would be a legitimate BFOQ for a person applying for a job as a model of women's clothing. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances, and in general, courts have been extremely reluctant to sanction otherwise discriminatory practices on BFOQ grounds. Employers should use caution in relying on the BFOQ rationale and should always consult with legal counsel before ...

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