Steve Duggan replies:
I am not aware of any law that would restrict a prospective employer from asking about this, or acting on it if they don’t like the information. I know it seems unfair. But, there are circumstances where an employer may have a legitimate concern about hiring someone whose spouse or close family member worked for a competitor or a client, because of a possibility of an inadvertent or deliberate release of sensitive, confidential business information. Of course, the contrary is also possible, that the concern may be illegal. Examples of this might be because the spouse works in a field or industry that the employer disapproves of for illegally discriminatory reasons. If you think the latter might be the case, you should discuss the facts with a local employment law attorney.
Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.