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There is no one federal law that specifically addresses employment applications, although there are record retention guidelines under a variety of federal laws (see the Recordkeeping topic) and non-discrimination provisions for hiring in general (see the Discrimination topic).
New York law provides that it is an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to use any form of application for employment which expresses any discrimination in regard to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, genetic predisposition or marital status, unless based on a bona fide occupational qualification. Exception: The Department of Civil Service or the personnel department of any city containing more than one county may request such information (with the exception of sexual orientation) from applicants for civil service examinations for the purpose of identifying and resolving any problems in recruitment of minorities for civil service positions. §296
It is also unlawful to inquire in an application form about any arrest that is not pending and that did not lead to a conviction, or which was terminated or was found in favor of the individual. §296.16