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Yesterday I was filling out an application, and in with the EEOC information, the application asked me if I was a part of the LGBTQ community. Irrespective of whether I am or not (or decline to answer), is asking such a personal question of a candidate legal? Also, for what purposes could they be collecting that data if not a strictly EEOC type of a thing? This is for a job in Illinois.

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    What state are you in? And before you start getting close votes for this being a legal question, I believe this falls under the realm of legal questions that most HR professionals should know the answer to. See the meta discussion.
    – David K
    Sep 22, 2016 at 18:22
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    How are they defining "part of the community"? What if you're not LGBTQ but go to rallies, participate in pro-LGBTQ activism, etc.? Seems like a shifty way to ask what they really want to know.
    – alroc
    Sep 22, 2016 at 18:24
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    They ask so that they can prove they are hiring LGBT people. I've also been asked if I have any disabilities Sep 22, 2016 at 18:26
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    You may find this answer useful. Basically it's just statistical to report to the government an overall view of the applicant pool.
    – David K
    Sep 22, 2016 at 18:32
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    @JesseCohoon Personally, I leave those questions blank. The last time I said "yes" to the disability question, I was targeted for my disabilities. Never again. Sep 22, 2016 at 18:32

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In a majority of states, it's entirely legal to fire someone for being gay or trans, to say nothing of asking. It's also generally legal to ask anything, but is typically prohibited by company policy because actually acting on that information could be illegal.

This will be different internationally, but you say "EEOC", so you're presumably in the US.

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    In the majority of states, it's legal to fire you if your socks are untied. Sep 22, 2016 at 18:25
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    @ChristopherEstep - You can still be fired for a discriminatory reason. No one goes to jail for it, and you probably wont get your job back. But the company could be forced to pay a civil penalty for such an action. Sep 22, 2016 at 19:45
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    @Chad correct, but companies are getting smart. They'll wait until there is a RIF, and bury your layoff in the rest. Also, company policies are now written to be so clandestine that you are always in violation of one or another at any given time. A common one is to have so many procedures in place that you cannot possibly follow them all and still be productive. Follow the procedures, get fired for low productivity, be productive, get fired for violating procedures Sep 22, 2016 at 19:49
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    @RichardU - Most companies have learned that it doesnt matter what your sexuality or gender identity is if you are productive and dont cause problems they keep you around, and if you arent... Sep 22, 2016 at 19:54
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    Geez, @Chad . I didn't say you were unable to fire someone, I said "can't" by which I was implying "legally". The underlying implication then is there could be consequences for the company such as the civil penalty you mentioned, but there could actually be criminal penalties if there's a pattern or actually discriminatory practice. That's Federal, states may have additional penalties.
    – Chris E
    Sep 22, 2016 at 19:56

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