Question of the Month

August 2018

Question
In your state can an employer lawfully ask a job applicant if they were honorably discharged from the military?
Answer from Alabama

There is no applicable law in Alabama.

For more information please contact Michael Thompson at mthompson@lehrmiddlebrooks.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from California

In California, employers may ask questions about a veteran candidate's military service in the same way they would ask any other candidate about their employment history, with one exception. Employers may not ask a candidate why they were discharged from the military or request to view their discharge papers.

For more information please contact Michael Foster at mfoster@fosteremploymentlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Florida

There is no Florida prohibition.

For more information please contact Wayne Helsby at whelsby@anblaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Georgia

In Georgia, private employers are permitted to ask applicants if they were honorably discharged from the military.

For more information please contact Douglas Duerr at duerr@elarbeethompson.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Hawaii

It is likely in Hawaii. It is unlawful in Hawaii to “make any inquiry in connection with prospective employment” that expresses a limitation, specification or discrimination based on a state protected category, which includes national guard participation.  Asking about an honorable discharge arguably does not specifically relate to national guard participation.  However, there is no definitive law, regulation, administrative guidance, or court decision that specifically says, one way or the other, whether this question is lawful.

For more information please contact Sarah Wang at SWang@marrjones.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Kentucky

In Kentucky, yes.

For more information please contact Oliver Rutherford at obr@smithandsmithattorneys.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Maryland

In Maryland, yes.

For more information please contact Fiona Ong at fwo@shawe.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Massachusetts

There is no state law prohibiting such questions.

For more information please contact Marylou Fabbo at mfabbo@skoler-abbott.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Minnesota

There is no categorical ban on asking a job applicant if he/she was honorably discharged.  However, an employer should only ask an applicant about her/her discharge status if there is a sufficient business reason for doing so (i.e. if the position requires some type of security clearance).  Employers can potentially open itself up to legal troubles if there is no business need for inquiring about an applicant’s discharge status.

For more information please contact Tom Revnew at TRevnew@seatonlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Nevada

Nevada law does not prohibit employers from asking prospective employees whether they were honorably discharged from military service. Where an applicant is seeking a job with the State, the Nevada Administrative Code expressly allows the government employer to require evidence of an honorable discharge “[t]o determine whether [the] applicant meets the minimum qualifications” for the position. See NAC 284.317.

For more information please contact Scott Abbott at sabbott@kzalaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from New York

New York State law does not prohibit employers from asking a job applicant if he or she was honorably discharged from the military. Note that state law protects applicants from discrimination on other bases that may be directly related to discharge status, such as one’s actual or perceived disability or sexual orientation, and that local law may provide separate protections. See N.Y. Exec. Law § 290 et seq.; N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 et seq.

For more information please contact Nick Bauer at NBauer@cfk-law.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from North Carolina

There is no North Carolina prohibition on this.

For more information please contact Bryan Adams at bryan.adams@vradlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Oregon

Yes. Oregon law does not prohibit an employer from asking about whether an applicant was honorably discharged.  Among other reasons, an employer may ask if a job applicant was honorably discharged to verify eligibility for a veterans hiring preference or other employment benefits associated with uniformed service. 

For more information please contact Trevor Caldwell at tcaldwell@bullardlaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Pennsylvania

Yes.  Pennsylvania has not enacted statutory prohibitions against asking a veteran if he/she was honorably discharged from the armed forces.

For more information please contact John Ellis at jellis@ufberglaw.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Texas

In Texas, there is no law preventing this.

For more information please contact John Freeman at jfreeman@keyharrington.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Virginia

In Virginia, yes.

For more information please contact Susan Carnell at scarnell@lorengercarnell.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Washington

While there is no statute or judicial opinion so holding, the Washington Human Rights Commission takes the position that inquiring into the “[t]ype or condition of military discharge” or requesting an applicant’s military discharge papers violates the Washington Law Against Discrimination.  WAC 162-12-140(3)(i).

For more information please contact Ken Diamond at ken@winterbauerdiamond.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

Answer from Wisconsin

Not generally (unless the employer has a bona fide occupational qualification for doing so such as state job veteran preference or security clearance).

For more information please contact Laurie Petersen at LPetersen@lindner-marsack.com

*Disclaimer: All answers to the Question of the Month are current the day on which they are posted. After this date, the information may subsequently change as a result of laws or rulings. For the most current information, please contact the responding lawyer for each state in which you are interested.

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