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Job hiring discrimination case ends with California settlement

Some Los Angeles residents may not be aware employers are restricted from asking certain questions during job interviews. Ignorance is not bliss. Some employers ignore the law and ask questions to learn things they have no right to know.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a California discrimination case for job applicants asked to provide information employers lawfully could not ask. All Star Seed Inc., Abatti and La Valle Sabbia in Southern California were named as defendants in the lawsuit, which was resolved with a recent $187,500 settlement.

The companies, fertilizer and seed suppliers, forced the applicants to answer illegal health questions and undergo medical exams as conditions for securing jobs. The prospective employees were told to fill out questionnaires asking about disabilities and family health histories. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from asking applicants whether they have a disability or making jobs contingent upon a taking a medical exam.

Employers may not delve into your present or past medical condition or the health background of family members. Even after hiring, an employer may inquire about a worker's health only as a medical condition relates to work. An employer is never allowed to probe for genetic information.

At least one worker in the discrimination case was rejected for a job due to a defendant's inquiry into past medical conditions and the applicant's family health history. A previous, genetically-linked health condition, unrelated to duties of the dispatcher job, was the reason for the job loss.

Three other plaintiffs in the case were asked to provide the same sensitive information. Those workers were hired. The EEOC said the defendants not only asked illegal questions, the companies did not keep confidential medical information separate from the applicants' non-private files.

Employers know what hiring questions not to ask. Unfortunately, many employees aren't sure about the boundaries. An employment attorney can explain and protect your rights.

Source: SanDiego6.com, "Job applicants subjected to illegal questions win $187,500 in discrimination settlement" CNS, Nov. 10, 2014

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