The A-Z Pre-Employment Guide for employers & employees


For Breastfeeding: See Babies and childcare, or Pregnancy 


Q. Can an employer concerned about ensuring business continuity ask job applicants about their childcare arrangements?

A. Employers shouldn't ask questions about childcare arrangements at a job interview. The Act protects people who are responsible for the care of children or other dependents from discrimination.

Asking questions about childcare arrangements could lead to complaints of discrimination. However, if the job requires an employee to be away from home for extensive periods all applicants should be asked whether they can meet this requirement.

See Also: Paid parental leave 


Q. Can I be asked behaviour-based questions in my interview?

A. Yes, particularly by government agencies.

Behaviour-based questions are asked to test a particular skill or competency or to check out reactions to a specific situation. They often start with a question like, “tell me about a time when…” or “what would you do in this particular situation…?”

See Also: Interview


Q. Can an employer refuse to employ me because I’m on a benefit under the Social Security Act such as the sickness benefit, or unemployed, or if I am receiving Accident Compensation Commission (ACC) payments?

A. No, the Act does not allow discrimination against people who are unemployed or receiving ACC payments or social security benefits.

It also prohibits discrimination because a person has previously been unemployed or received ACC payments or social security benefits.

An employer should avoid asking questions about whether an applicant is receiving social security benefits, or ACC payments, or is unemployed.

Questions like this could be seen as indicating an intention to breach the Act and can lead to complaints. Questions about a job applicant’s employment history should be focused on the applicant’s ability to do the job, not why the applicant has been absent from the workforce.

Once someone has started work, continuing to receive ACC compensation or benefit payments could be unlawful.