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Can you ask Vanessa questions about medication, alcohol use and smoking during her interview?

by , 08 October 2014
You're on a recruitment drive and you've made your short list.

One of the candidates you'll be interviewing is Vanessa.

So to cover your bases, you're preparing an interview questionnaire and are listing a set of questions you'll ask her to check if she's the right person for the job.

You're now wondering whether it would be appropriate to ask Vanessa questions about medication, alcohol use and smoking during her interview.

Read on to find out the answer so you won't find yourself on the wrong side of the law.


Should you or shouldn't you ask Vanessa questions about medication, alcohol use and smoking during her interview? Here's your answer

 
The general rule is, your recruitment and selection process must be fair and mustn't discriminate unfairly.
 
This means, any questions you ask Vanessa must focus on the essential elements of the job and her suitability for it, including her skills and competencies.
 
So, don't ask Vanessa any questions about medication, alcohol, drugs or smoking unless you require this information due to the inherent requirements of the job.

 
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Keep these points in mind when it comes to questions about medication, alcohol use and smoking


Questions about medication: If you ask Vanessa questions about her use of medication, it could reveal a confidential medical condition. This will then infringe on her constitutional right to privacy and also violate the provisions of the Employment Equity Act (EEA).
 
Questions about alcohol use: If you ask Vanessa questions about alcohol use or want to test her for alcohol use, you could find yourself facing an unfair discrimination claim.
 
You can only test for drug or alcohol use where a job requires a high degree of vigilance or alertness and you must do this according to the provisions of the EEA.

Questions about smoking: It's generally not an inherent requirement of a job that an employee not take smoke breaks.
 
So don't try and justify asking Vanessa if she smokes because you want an employee who doesn't take smoke breaks. You'll expose yourself to potential liability.
 
It's that simple.
 
Only ask Vanessa questions about medication, alcohol, drugs or smoking if you need this information due to the inherent requirements of the job.
 
Recommended Product: Recruitment: The Complete Guide. The guide will ensure every step of your recruitment process is legal and effective.
 


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