When it comes to the hiring process, potential employees have quite a few legal protections. The law protects them from discrimination in many different ways, and that extends to the hiring process. As a result, plenty of areas about your personal life are simply off limits to both current and future employers.

The thing is… a lot of employers try to skirt those rules anyway.

An employer who plans on breaking the law won't make it plain. Most of them have learned by now that the wrong questions will cause a pile of rejected candidates to lawyer up immediately. Instead, they'll ask around the information they really want to know.

Now, it's important to note that most of the time asking around a protected issue isn't in and of itself illegal. These questions below might not necessarily break the law, but they're a good sign that you have an employer who might just be thinking about doing so. So stay on your toes, and if you get one of these ten trick questions, find a polite way not to answer. (For more information, take a look at NOLO's discrimination database here.)

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Important: This article is not intended to substitute for or qualify as legal advice in any way. If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact an attorney, legal aid or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.