Question: Is it legal to take a picture of interview candidates or request they submit a picture with their resume? We are located in Massachusetts.
Answer: As a best practice, employers should not seek or take photos of job candidates or applicants. Although requesting or taking a photo is not illegal per se, it could easily create liability under state and/or federal discrimination laws, because a photo may be construed as an attempt to discriminate on the basis of a protected trait (age, race, gender, disability, pregnancy, etc.). In fact, we would suggest that you would need an unquestionable, good faith business reason for requesting a photo — not just wishing to remember what the individual looked like, for instance. This is because an individual with these protected traits who was not chosen after you obtained his or her picture could use your photo requirement as the basis for a discrimination claim. Massachusetts has placed significant emphasis on prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. If there is a security badging system in your workplace and a photo is taken for that purpose, that is a bona fide business reason; however, this is generally done after the applicant has been hired. Otherwise, we suggest you examine the motives and necessity of such a practice.