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by Abigail Van Buren

Shop Owner's Family Are Becoming Store Fixtures

DEAR ABBY: I am a married Jewish woman just shy of 30. For the past year I've been searching for a better job. Without fail at almost every interview, I'm asked some outrageously illegal questions:

"Are you married? How long have you been married? Do you have children? Are you planning on getting pregnant? Exactly when are you planning to start a family? Will you want to stay home when your children are young? What's your biggest health concern? How religious are you? Are you willing to work Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?" (the most religious days on the Jewish calendar).

Abby, what's the best way to avoid answering these questions? The next time it happens, can I press charges? Thanks for your help. -- ETERNAL JOB CANDIDATE

DEAR JOB CANDIDATE: Simply smile and say: "I want you to know that I am sincerely interested in this job, but the questions you are asking are illegal. I'm telling you this because I'm sure you're interviewing other applicants, and I wouldn't want you to get in trouble with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission)."

If the questioning persists, the EEOC should be notified because the questions are discriminatory.