Complete customizable form, plus practice tips.

By Susan Broome, Ph.D.

Excerpted from Pattern Voir Dire Questions

There are five main topics for voir dire in an employment discrimination case.

  1. Do jurors have work experience that may influence how they see the case? Include questions about employment history,case-related employment, loss of employment, other employment experience that may cause bias, and case-specific supervisory experience.

Practice Tip: Jurors who have experience in the plaintiff’s position or the defendant’s sector have the potential to become perceived experts in deliberations. Will they argue for or against you? Does the potential juror have special knowledge about the defendant’s sector because someone close to him has shared their knowledge? Has that person shared information with the juror that would influence how the juror will see the case? This is the rationale for all questions that ask about people close to the juror. Weigh second-hand knowledge less heavily than first-hand experience. If someone close to the juror worked in the defendant’s sector, determine the relationship of that person to the juror and how much that person talked about his or her experience. Then ask follow-up questions about the experience.

  1. What are the jurors’ attitudes toward the parties?

Practice Tip: Ask jurors about their attitudes toward the group of people the plaintiff represents (e.g., women, African-Americans, older employees). Also ask jurors about their attitudes toward the defendant(s) in the case. If a juror is predisposed for or against either larger group, he is likely to feel that way about the party in the suit.

  1. Do jurors have experience with employment dispute resolution?

Practice Tip: Evaluate how jurors handle disagreements with management. If they are proactive, they may be more supportive of the plaintiff.

  1. In addition to questions about discrimination in general, includes questions about discrimination in hiring/promotion, harassment cases and disparate treatment/wrongful termination. What is jurors’ understanding of the legal issues in the case? Do they have experience with a similar case?

Practice Tip: Use these questions to gauge how well the jurors understand the legal issues in the case and to evaluate preconceived notions of the law. Do they have experience with a similar case? Knowing jurors’ level of understanding of the legal issues allows you to target your explanation and presentation to their level. Jurors who have experience with a similar case will most likely share that experience during deliberations. How will that experience influence the way they see this case? How does the juror feel about that experience? Was it positive or negative? Does the juror carry a grudge against the system because of that experience?

  1. How do jurors feel about awarding damages for financial losses, psychological suffering and punitive damages, if relevant?

Practice Tip: Identify reluctance/willingness to award monetary damages. Frequently in employment cases, intangible damages are more significant than lost wages or medical bills. Questions about damages in an employment case start jurors thinking about the possibility of awarding damages in a situation where no one has suffered physical harm. These questions will help you identify jurors who have extreme attitudes toward awarding money damages. While lawyers for the plaintiff may be more likely to raise the issue of damages in voir dire, both sides benefit from knowing how jurors feel about it.

Request a Supplemental Juror Questionnaire in any employment case that involves accusations of discrimination. Frequently, views on these issues are based on stereotypes, and jurors know that expressing those stereotypes is socially unacceptable. Jurors are more likely to be candid in a questionnaire than in front of a judge, the lawyers and a group of their peers. Follow up on all written responses in oral voir dire. To increase the chances of obtaining candid responses on sensitive issues, conduct voir dire individually whenever possible.

Use Note: This supplemental juror questionnaire can be used in all employment discrimination cases. You may choose to include additional case-specific questions, relevant to the particular facts of your case, at your discretion.

Supplemental Juror Questionnaire – Employment Discrimination

This questionnaire is designed to assist the parties in the jury selection process. It is a private court document that will not be used for any other purpose. The information you provide will not be disclosed to any unauthorized person.

Background Information

  1. Name: _______________________
  1. Juror Number: ________________
  1. Gender ☐ Male  ☐ Female
  1. Where were you born? ______________________________________

Age: __________

  1. Where did you grow up? City: __________ State: __________ Other: _________
  1. Current address: ________________________________________________________
  1. Do you own or rent your place of residence?

☐ Own    ☐ Rent    ☐ Live with friends    ☐ Live with relatives

  1. How long have you lived at your current address? __________________________

If less than 10 years, where did you live before and why did you move?__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

  1. Please list all of the other people who live in your household and provide the following information:

Name

Age

Education

Occupation
(if grown)

Employer

  1. Please provide the same information for any children who do not live with you:

Name

Age

Education

Occupation
(if grown)

Employer

  1. If you have grandchildren, please provide the same information for them:

Name

Age

Education

Occupation
(if grown)

Employer

  1. What are/were your parents’ occupations? ____________________________________
  1. Marital Status
    ☐ Divorced and Remarried    ☐ First Marriage    ☐ Domestic Partner    ☐ Divorced
    ☐ Widowed    ☐ Never Married    ☐ Separated
  1. What is your racial/ethnic background?
    ☐ Caucasian
    ☐ African American
    ☐ Hispanic/Latino
    ☐ Asian/Pacific Islander
    ☐ Bi-racial or other
  1. What is the highest grade you completed in school?
    ☐ Less than completion of high school
    ☐ Completed high school
    ☐ Technical or trade school
    ☐ Some college
    ☐ Junior college degree (Associate)
    ☐ College degree (Bachelor)
    ☐ Some graduate study
    ☐ Masters or doctorate
  1. What is your current employment status?
    ☐ Employed full time
    ☐ Employed part time
    ☐ Self-employed
    ☐ Unemployed
    ☐ At home
    ☐ Full-time student
    ☐ Retired
    ☐ Other: ________________________________________
  1. Current employer (or last employer if not currently employed):
    City and state: _____________________________________
    Type of business: __________________________________
    Job or occupation: __________________________________
    How long have you worked for this employer? ____________________
  1. Previous employers/occupations: _____________________________
  1. Have you ever managed or supervised others as part of your job? ☐ Yes ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you, or has anyone close to you, ever been self-employed, a business owner, a corporate officer, or a member of the board of directors of any business or corporation? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you ever served in the military? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    Branch of service: _______________________
    Dates of service: ________________________
    Type of discharge: _______________________

Your Spouse or Partner

Name: ______________________________________________ Age: ________

  1. What is the highest grade your spouse/partner (former spouse) completed in school?
    ☐ Less than completion of high school
    ☐ Completed high school
    ☐ Technical or trade school
    ☐ Some college
    ☐ Junior college degree (Associate)
    ☐ College degree (Bachelor)
    ☐ Some graduate study
    ☐ Masters or doctorate
  1. What is your spouse’s/partner’s (former spouse’s) current employment status?
    ☐ Employed full-time
    ☐ Employed part-time
    ☐ Self-employed
    ☐ Unemployed
    ☐ At home
    ☐ Full-time student
    ☐ Retired
    ☐ Other: ____________________________________
  1. Spouse’s/partner’s (former spouse’s) current employer (or last employer if not currently employed):
    City and state: _____________________________________
    Type of business: __________________________________
    Job or occupation: ___________________________________
    How long has he/she worked for this employer?____________________________
    Previous employers/occupations: _______________________________________

Organizations/Hobbies

  1. With which political party do you most identify?
    ☐ Democrat    ☐ Republican    ☐ Independent    ☐ Other    ☐ None
  1. Do you belong to any civic, professional, fraternal, social, political or religious organizations? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, to which organizations do you belong?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you hold an office in any of the organizations? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, which organization and what office?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. List all community or volunteer activities in which you participate:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. List all organizations to which you donate money:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. What hobbies or recreational activities do you like to pursue in your spare time?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you or your spouse/significant other have bumper stickers on your car?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, what do they say?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________

Sources of Information

  1. What newspapers, magazines, radio stations or online news services do you regularly read or use?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. How often do you view, read or listen to the news?
    ☐ Every day
    ☐ A few times a week
    ☐ Occasionally
    ☐ Never
  1. What newspapers do you read frequently?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. What books, magazines and websites do you read for pleasure?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. What books, magazines and websites do you read for information?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you ever written a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine or to a politician?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, what was the letter about?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. What, if any, television programs do you watch regularly?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. What, if any, courtroom or law-related shows do you watch?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. What radio programs/stations do you listen to frequently?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. What websites do you visit regularly?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. How often do you visit social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.?
    ☐ Every day    ☐ A few times a week    ☐ Occasionally    ☐ Never
  1. Do you have a blog or website? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:__________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you view or follow blogs of others regularly? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please indicate the blog(s) and topic(s):__________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you visit chat rooms? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, which one(s):
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________

Use Note: Include the following two questions if you are trying a high-profile case.

  1. Have you read, seen, or heard anything about this case? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, what have you read, seen or heard?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________

If yes, please indicate the specific source of your information (e.g., identify the specific television station/program you watched;magazine you read; person with whom you spoke, etc.):
Television: _____________________________________________________________
Radio news: ___________________________________________________________
Radio talk shows: ________________________________________________________
Newspapers: ___________________________________________________________
Magazines: _____________________________________________________________
Internet chat rooms: ______________________________________________________
Conversations with others: _________________________________________________
Other: _____________________________________________________________

If yes, have you formed any preliminary opinions about this case? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
If yes, please explain:
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

  1. The judge will tell you to avoid all media coverage of the case for the duration of the trial. That means you are not allowed to read newspaper or magazine articles about the case, in print or online, or listen to news related to the case on television, radio or the Internet. Do you have any reservations about your ability or willingness to follow this instruction? ☐ Yes    ☐ No

Case-Specific Questions

  1. Do you, or does someone close to you, have current or prior experience and/or training in any of the following:
    Psychology/counseling               ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Social work/social services          ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Personnel/human resources        ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Employee benefits                      ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Employee rules/manuals             ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Law                                           ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Legal field/law-related field          ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Job laws                                    ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Insurance/claims management    ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Affirmative action/
    anti-discrimination
    programs                                   ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Accounting/payroll                      ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Hearing officer/union steward      ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Negotiator/arbitrator                    ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No

[Use Note: Include any additional case relevant fields.]

If yes, please explain:
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

  1. Have you, or has someone close to you, ever:
    Been fired or laid off?                       ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Been turned down for a job
    you/he/she wanted?                          ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Worked in [the defendant’s sector]?   ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Worked as a [plaintiff’s position]?       ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Owned a business/been
    self-employed?                                 ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Belonged to a union/workers’
    organization?                                    ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Felt discriminated against?                 ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Been accused of discrimination?        ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Filed an internal grievance
    with an employer?                             ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Filed a worker’s comp claim?             ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Filed a grievance with a union?           ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Filed a charge with the EEOC/FEP?    ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No
    Been involved in an
    employment dispute?                          ☐ Yes, me      ☐ Yes, someone close      ☐ No

[Use Note: Include any additional case-relevant experiences.]

If yes, please explain:
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________

  1. Have you ever managed or supervised people as part of your job?        ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, have you ever had to discipline or fire someone for any reason? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you have any opinions, attitudes or beliefs, either positive or negative, about the defendant’s field and/or the defendant? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you, or has a family member or close friend, ever had a positive or negative experience with a [type of defendant-company in suit] and/or the defendant?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you, or has anyone close to you, ever been discriminated against or harassed in any way, for any reason, by another individual or business? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you, or has anyone close to you, ever been accused of discrimination or harassment of any type?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Has your employer ever been sued for discrimination or harassment? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. If you own or ever have owned a business or been self-employed, were you ever sued for discrimination or harassment? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: Discrimination/harassment claims are just excuses to cover up other problems people are having on the job. ☐ Agree    ☐ Disagree
    Why do you feel that way?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you agree or disagree with this statement: Discrimination [harassment] is a thing of the past. ☐ Agree    ☐ Disagree
    Why do you feel that way?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________

Use Note: Include these last three questions if relevant to the facts of your case.

  1. Have you, or has anyone close to you, ever been fired or laid off?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you, or anyone close to you, ever been turned down for a job you wanted or denied a promotion?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you, or has anyone close to you, ever been a member of a class in a class-action suit?☐ Yes ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________

Legal Experience

  1. Have you, or has anyone close to you, ever had any of the following experiences with the law?
    ☐ Training/education in law
    ☐ Employment in law
    ☐ Been sued
    ☐ Filed a lawsuit
    ☐ Decided not to file a lawsuit against someone whose conduct caused injury or damage
    ☐ Been served a court order
    ☐ Sought a court order (restraining order, stay-away order, injunction, etc.)
    ☐ Been a witness in a civil/criminal case
    ☐ Given a deposition
    ☐ Given testimony to a grand jury
    ☐ Been arrested
    ☐ Been charged with a crime
    ☐ Been convicted of a crime
    ☐ Been a crime victim (assault, battery, robbery, murder, etc.)
    If yes, please indicate who had this experience (you, or state the relationship of the person close to you) and describe that experience:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you ever served on a jury? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes:
    In what court? (federal and/or state court): _________________________________
    How many were criminal trials? __________________________________________
    How many were civil trials? _____________________________________________
    Did you serve as foreperson on any of these trials?
    Without indicating what the verdicts were, did all of the juries you served on reach a verdict?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    How would you describe your past jury experience(s): ☐ Positive    ☐ Neutral    ☐ Negative
    Why do you say that?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you ever served on a grand jury? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    How would you describe your experience as a grand juror?
    ☐ Positive    ☐ Neutral    ☐ Negative
    Why do you say that?
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Have you or anyone close to you ever worked for any of the following?
    ☐ Law enforcement agency
    ☐ Corrections/detention system
    ☐ Court system
    ☐ Other law- related employer
    If yes, please indicate who and describe:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Are you currently or have you ever been a member of the Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA)?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No

Current Jury Service

  1. It is estimated that this trial will take ___ weeks. Do you have any difficulty being a juror in a case of this duration? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Are you taking any medications or do you have any physical or personal condition that would make it difficult for you to concentrate or attend all sessions during the trial?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you have any problem (vision, hearing, financial, emotional, language or medical) that you believe may significantly affect your jury service?
    ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you have any moral, religious, or philosophical beliefs that would make it uncomfortable or difficult for you to judge another person? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please explain:
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
    __________________________________________________________________________
  1. Do you know any of the people in the list attached to this questionnaire? ☐ Yes    ☐ No
    If yes, please circle the names of the people you personally know.

Susan Broome, Ph.D., has been working with trial lawyers for more than 20 years. She was trained at Litigation Sciences, Inc., and was one of two consultants to open its Boston office.

Presently, in addition to assisting trial lawyers and witnesses at her own firm in Boston, she is an anchor for Los Angeles based Leggett Jury Research’s East Coast cases. Dr. Broome has appeared on Arthur Miller’s In Context for a session devoted to jury selection. She is a member of the American Society of Trial Consultants.

Dr. Broome holds a B.A. from Columbia University, an M.A. from Tufts University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Clark University.