Suppose you're a retailer and you want to hire a salesperson who speaks Spanish fluently. In the course of interviewing a candidate, you ask, "So, where did you learn to read, write, and speak Spanish?" Watch out! According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you may have committed an act of discrimination.

Most job seekers won't haul you to court over such silliness, but why take chances? These days it pays to stay informed. You can get help from Essential Facts: Employment (Warren, Gorham & Lamont, 800-950-1205, $95 plus shipping; there's a 21-day money-back guarantee) and its related software disk, which sells for an additional $40.

The loose-leaf book covers everything from the Americans with Disabilities Act and preemployment testing to workplace violence and employee privacy. You're promised at least two updated chapters the first year. Renewals, which include four revised chapters, cost $90 a year.

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