Reprinted from the Michigan Department of Civil Rights
In accord with
Section 206 of Public Act 453 of 1976, which is known as the
Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, an employer, labor organization, or
employment agency shall not print, circulate, post, mail, or otherwise
cause to be published a statement, advertisement, notice, or sign
relating to employment by the employer, or relating to a membership in
or classification or referral for employment by the labor organization,
or relating to a classification or referral for employment by the
employment agency, which indicates a preference, limitation,
specification, or discrimination, based on religion, race, color,
national origin, age, sex, height, weight or marital status. Except as
permitted by rules promulgated by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission
or by applicable federal law, an employer or employment agency shall
Make or use a written or oral inquiry or form of application that
elicits or attempts to elicit information concerning the religion, race,
color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status of a
2. Make or keep a record of information described above in subdivision (a) or to disclose that information.
3. Make or use a
written or oral inquiry or form of application that expresses a
preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based on
religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight or
marital status of a prospective employee.
Section 206 of
Public Act 220 of 1976, which is known as the Michigan Handicappers'
Civil Rights Act, provides for similar protection for the handicapped if
the specific handicap is unrelated to the individual's ability to
perform the duties of a particular job or position. The Michigan
Department of Civil Rights has developed a Preemployment Inquiry Guide
to assist employers and employment agencies in complying with both Acts
220 and 453 in regard to preemployment inquiries and securing certain
data relating to job applicants. The Guide constitutes an interpretation
of the Acts in this regard and is intended to aid in preventing
practices which have a high potential for unlawful discrimination.
Nothing in the guidelines or Acts prevents employers from hiring
competent and reliable workers. The purpose of the Act is not to
interfere with an employer's right to hire qualified persons but to
prevent those characteristics, which are not job-related, such as race,
sex, marital status, et cetera, from influencing the selection process.
One of the most
effective ways to ensure sound selection procedures and to avoid
unlawful discrimination is for employers to carefully develop written,
job-related position descriptions which outline the required skills and
abilities for each position. Obviously, the purpose of a sound selection
process is to obtain good employees who can meet specific work
requirements and successfully perform the particular job duties. A
person's race, sex, marital status, handicap, et cetera are not
indicators of an individual's potential to be a good worker. Keeping in
mind the specific job requirements and only the pertinent skills
required to perform the particular job, employers may elicit adequate
information on their employment applications which will aid in making a
good selection. Employers can deprive themselves of valuable employees
by stereotyping rather than judging applicants on an individual basis.
In screening employment applicants, assumptions should not be made based
on an applicant's identity or status. For example, it should not be
assumed that because a woman has small children she will not be able to
work odd hours. The issue is whether she can, in fact, work odd hours
and not whether she has children. Therefore, the applicant should be
asked directly whether she can work odd hours and not if she has
children. It is essential that employers carefully examine the
job-relatedness of all questions and develop different employment
applications from different job groups. For example, more detailed
information is needed about an applicant for a highly technical computer
position than a person seeking a job as a laborer. The following
question areas normally constitute the core of the application:
1. Identification of the applicant (name, address and telephone).
2. Applicant's interests (which jobs, salary levels).
3. Summary of the applicant's background (education and training, work history, special qualifications and skills).
essential information and questions designed to elicit such information
are basic to an employment application form. Beyond this basic
information, employers must design questions to elicit job-related
information which will be applicable and useful in meeting their needs.
Obviously, questions which elicit information that may have an adverse
impact on classes protected by civil rights legislation should be
Preemployment Inquiry Guide includes certain informational items that
are considered unlawful preemployment inquires, but may be needed for
payroll and fringe benefit purposes (marital status, number of
dependents, et cetera). This information should not be requested on the
employment application but can be lawfully secured subsequent to hiring.
It should have no bearing in the selection process. In accord with
Section 206 of both Acts 220 and 453 and Michigan Civil Rights
Commission Rules, employers may be granted approval by the Commission to
collect data needed to carry out approved affirmative action plans.
This constitutes the granting of exceptions to collecting data
prohibited by Acts 220 and 453. Employers may apply to the Michigan
Civil Rights Commission, 1200 Sixth Street, Detroit 48226, and include a
copy of the affirmative action plan. Employees may also apply to the
Commission for exemptions on the basis that religion, national origin,
age, height, weight or sex is a bona fide occupational qualification.
However, there must be sufficient showing that an exemption is essential
to the normal operation of the business based on business necessity.
Preemployment Inquiry Guide can be used as an effective tool in
minimizing the number of employment discrimination complaints, which
benefits employers because of the financial savings of not having to
defend such complaints. Employers who wish to have their employment
applications reviewed may do so by forwarding a request and a copy of
the application form to the Director of Enforcement, Michigan Department
of Civil Rights, 1200 Sixth Street, Detroit 48226.
Preemployment Inquiry Guide is based on the provisions of Public Acts
220 and 453 of 1976*. Employers who are subject to Public Act 453 may
apply to the Michigan Civil Rights Commission for an exemption on the
basis that religion, national origin, age, height, weight, or sex is a
bona fide occupational qualification essential to the normal operation
of the business or enterprise. Upon sufficient showing by the employer,
the Commission may grant an exception. An employer may have a bona fide
occupational qualification on the basis of religion, national origin,
sex, or marital status, height and weight without obtaining prior
exemption from the Commission, provided that an employer who does not
obtain an exemption shall have the burden of establishing that the
qualification is reasonably necessary or essential to the normal
operation of the business. In the absence of business necessity, a
selection criterion should not be used if it has a disproportionately
burdensome effect, or disparate impact, upon those of a particular race,
color, national origin, sex, age, marital status, religion, height,
weight, or the handicapped.
to the list of unlawful questions are permitted by applicable federal
law or by rules promulgated by the Michigan Civil Rights Commission,
including rules relating to affirmative action plans if approved by the
Commission. Upon application to the Commission, employers may be
permitted to make preemployment inquires prohibited by the Public Acts
220 and 453 for purposes not inconsistent with the Constitution and
3. It is
unlawful to make or use a written or oral inquiry or form of application
that elicits information concerning the handicap of a prospective
employee for reasons contrary to the provisions or purposes of Act 220
*This guide also
reflects the requirements of Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of
1964, Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the
Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. 2/92
PREEMPLOYMENT INQUIRY GUIDE
name. Have you ever worked for this company under a different name? Is any
additional information relative to a different name necessary to check work
record? If yes explain.||Original name of
an applicant whose name has been changed by court order or otherwise;
Applicant's maiden name.|
ADDRESS OR DURATION OF RESIDENCE
Birthplace of applicant.
Birthplace of applicant's parents, spouse
or other close relatives.
Requirements that applicant submit
birth-certificate, naturalization or baptismal record.
Are you over 18 years of age?
|How old are you? What is your date of birth?|
This question may be asked only for the
purpose of determining whether applicants are of legal age for employment.
| ||Inquiry into an
applicant's religious denomination, religious affiliations, church, parish,
pastor, or religious holidays observed.|
| ||Complexion or
color of skin.|
| ||Any requirement
for a photograph prior to hire|
| ||Inquiry regarding
| ||Inquiry regarding
|Is your spouse
employed by this employer?||Requirement that
an applicant provide any information regarding marital status or children.
Are you single or married? Do you have any children? Is your spouse employed?
What is your spouse's name?|
| ||Mr., Miss or Mrs.
or an inquiry regarding sex. Inquiry as to the ability to reproduce or
advocacy of any form of birth control. Requirement that women be given
|Can you perform
the duties of the job in which you wish to be employed, with or without
regarding an individual's physical or mental condition which are not directly
related to the requirements of a specific job and which are used as a factor
in making employment decisions in a way which is contrary to the provisions
or purposes of the Michigan Handicappers' Civil Rights Act.|
Are you a citizen of the United States?
If not a citizen of the United States, does applicant intend to become a
citizen of the United States? If you are not a United States citizen, have
you the legal right to remain permanently in the United States? Do you intend
to remain permanently in the United States?
|(Questions below are unlawful unless asked as part of the
Federal I-9 process.) Of what country are you a citizen? Whether an applicant
is naturalized or a native-born citizen; the date when the applicant acquired
citizenship. Requirement that an applicant produce naturalization papers or
first papers. Whether applicant's parents or spouse are naturalized or
native born citizens of the United States; the date when such parent or
spouse acquire citizenship.|
(To avoid discrimination based on
national origin, the questions above should be asked after the individual has
been hired, even if it is related to the Federal I-9 process.)
languages applicant speaks and writes fluently.||Inquiry into
applicant's (a) lineage; (b) ancestry; (c) national origin; (d) descent; (e)
parentage, or nationality, unless pursuant to the Federal I-9 process
Nationality of an applicant's parents or spouse; inquiry into how applicant
acquired ability to read, write or speak a foreign language.|
|Inquiry into the
academic, vocational, or professional education of an applicant and the
public and private schools attended.|| |
|Inquiry into work
experience. Inquiry into countries applicant has visited.|| |
Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
|Inquiry regarding arrests which did not result in
conviction. (Except for law enforcement agencies.)|
Are there any felony charges pending
| ||Address of any
relative of applicant, other than address (within the United States) of
applicant's father and mother, husband or wife and minor dependent children.|
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
applicant's relatives already employed by this company||Name and address
of nearest relative to be notified in case of accident or emergency.|
|Inquiry into an
applicant's military experience in the Armed Forces of the United States or
State Militia.||Inquiry into an
applicant's general military experience. |
|Inquiry into the
organizations of which an applicant is a member, excluding the names or
characters which indicate the race, color, religion, national origin or
ancestry of its members.||List all clubs,
societies and lodges to which you belong.|