Ever Hear Of Contacting A Spouse About Employment?

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Matt M.'s Comment
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G-Town's Comment
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FEHA fact sheet

Per the link...please read the second paragraph under the "Employees" section of page one. Based on that language, a blanket statement calling an inquiry for a spousal reference "illegal" is unsupported and unfounded.

It can easily be proven that truck driving can and likely will disrupt family dynamics. It can also be easily proven that trucking companies do not discriminate based on marital status. How many documented court cases exist for trucking companies discriminating against a job applicant (rejecting them) because of marital status?

Again it goes back to how the question was originally asked of the OP. Unfortunately that basic fact has somehow been left out of this ongoing discussion.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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People really, really want this to be illegal!

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Folks, I think you're missing a really important point here. These companies realize that OTR trucking really takes the commitment of your entire family if it's going to work. They want to know that your family is behind this decision. They want to make sure your family is prepared for the challenges they're going to face.

A significant percentage of the drivers out there working for major carriers are married with children. No one is trying to discriminate against married couples. Remember, the average age of truckers nationwide is in the upper 40's. How many people in their upper 40's are single and don't have any children? Not very many.

These companies want to make sure that your family is prepared for the commitment you're about to make. They want to make sure the entire family is committed to this decision.

Let me ask you guys something because I'm not sure anyone has actually said this. Why would you be concerned about them wanting to speak with your family in the first place? What are you afraid is going to happen? Everyone keeps asking if this is legal or ethical but I don't think anyone has said why they're actually concerned with it.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Old School's Comment
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This whole discussion has been interesting to me, simply because of my own history in the hiring process. I remember going to some seminars on HR legalities and I would always leave there with my head spinning. Most of the so called "experts" on this subject seemed like weasels to me who were flat out scared to ask anything that was pertinent to the particular job. I was always amazed at the limited information they were willing to get when trying to fill a position with an adequate employee who just might have what it takes to be able to make a go of it. I understand the problems involved with the process, especially in the litigious society we have burdened ourselves with, but I do not understand the cowardice on most HR managers part when trying to find people who can do what it is they are needing.

This matter we are discussing here is clearly not illegal as the information is pertinent to the candidates ability to perform the job efficiently and properly. As far as I'm concerned I think you could make a legitimate argument that it has some bearing on their ability to perform the job safely.

I'm sure the same people who are arguing that this is an illegal question would never be willing to ask someone what they weighed on an application either. Yet, I asked this question regularly for a particular job opening when it came available. I actually had a very heavy man who applied for this job, and I had to explain to him that I couldn't hire him because of his weight. He weighed 365 pounds. Well the proverbial "poop" hit the fan when I got a letter from an attorney concerning the matter. It never went to court because I simply contacted my attorney, and we took some pictures of the fiberglass bucket on the bucket truck that the gentleman had applied to be operating for me, in which it clearly was marked by the manufacturer that it was unsafe to operate the boom of the truck with more than 300 pounds in the bucket. We sent those photos along with our explanation of the entire situation, and also told the gentleman's attorney that we would be glad to let him apply for the position again as soon as he lost about 100 pounds. It was absolutely not illegal to ask what I did because it was pertinent to the candidate's ability to perform the job functions properly and safely. It was apparently not his intent to get a job after all with me, because he never pursued the matter further legally, nor was he willing to lose the weight necessary for the position. After a few brief conversations between the attorneys the problem totally disappeared.

A truck drivers family bears more of a burden at home from their absence than does the driver himself. This is a perfectly legal thing to do, and I think it is absolutely responsible on the company's part.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Matt M.'s Comment
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FEHA fact sheet

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Per the link...please read the second paragraph under the "Employees" section of page one. Based on that language, a blanket statement calling an inquiry for a spousal reference "illegal" is unsupported and unfounded.

It can easily be proven that truck driving can and likely will disrupt family dynamics. It can also be easily proven that trucking companies do not discriminate based on marital status. How many documented court cases exist for trucking companies discriminating against a job applicant (rejecting them) because of marital status?

Again it goes back to how the question was originally asked of the OP. Unfortunately that basic fact has somehow been left out of this ongoing discussion.

You cherry pick a paragraph related to medical inquiries and infer that spousal references are legal? The chart states the question is unacceptable, lists guidelines for such medical inquiries in the chart, the actual law I linked states it's unlawful, and an employment lawyer states "are you married?" is a question that is flat out illegal in "many states.".

How many people go into trucking with a job listing requiring being away from home for months at a time (or oilfield, shipping, or countless other jobs that have such a requirement) not having discussed this with their spouse? Now, it's one thing talking about it and quite another living it, but that's not exactly going to be solved by some hiring manager talking to you either.

Regardless, none of this is going to really matter to the guy in the op applying for a job (the employment attorney link earlier touches on this). It's not going to matter to me, either. It IS illegal in at least one state, and very likely "many" others, and I personally find the inquiry rather silly. If you Google search this, it is something that has come up in other industries, and even has some other forms discussing this very topic.

To follow Brett's rhetoric... Moderators here really, really want this to be legal.

I would never ask a person's weight in an interview either (and a woman whether it was an interview or not lol), but if the job was operating equipment with a weight requirement I would inquire if they meet such requirement, and the employment offer would be conditional upon them meeting it. I don't see how that's any different than an age requirement for a job...I'm not going to ask "how old are you?". Silly hr folks indeed.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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I would never ask a person's weight in an interview either.......but if the job was operating equipment with a weight requirement I would inquire if they meet such requirement and the employment offer would be conditional upon them meeting it.

Makes perfect sense.

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I don't see how that's any different than an age requirement for a job

Right, cuz age and weight are the same thing and neither could ever have an effect on anything.

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Do you understand what this line means? I'm going to bold the key part:

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits any non-job-related inquiries of applicants

If you ask someone to leave their family alone at home for days or weeks at a time then whether or not a person has a family is a job-related inquiry. It directly affects the person's ability to do the job safely and consistently over time.

Do you get that? Because it's about the 5th time we've tried to make this same point and it's whizzin right past your head.

Matt M.'s Comment
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"At the time of the job interview, the applicant cannot be asked questions about their marital status or family orientation. If an employer is asking these types of questions during the application and interview process, they are breaking the law."

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.californiaemployeerightslawyer.com/marital-status-discrimination-and-harassment.html&ved=0ahUKEwjQq4SV4pvXAhUBQSYKHTILDPMQFgg3MAI&usg=AOvVaw14N8hWiCEKtJXVBNb_haFd

From an employee rights lawyer in California. Evidently me linking the actual law was not proof this line of inquiry is illegal, perhaps you will accept it from a practicing attorney.

Matt M.'s Comment
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I will not be replying to WTF tags, but if you are interested in discussing how the law and the attorney I linked that states the inquiry is illegal is somehow wrong about this I would be happy to continue the discussion.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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That's an article written by a law firm trying to get clients. Unfortunately for you, a blog article is not the law and people are free to write anything they like. I've yet to see an actual law stating it is illegal to ask someone if they are married or ask to speak to their spouse. It is illegal to discriminate against someone in your hiring practices for something that is not job related. It is not illegal to ask someone a question or ask to speak to their spouse. It is not illegal to make a hiring decision based on criteria that affect the person's ability to do the job.

Attorneys can claim anything they like in an article. Proving that someone broke the law in court is something completely different. Like Old School said, he had an attorney contact him claiming discrimination but once he proved it wasn't discrimination and that it was job related the issue went away.

Matt M.'s Comment
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ยง 11056. Pre-Employment Practices. (a) Impermissible Inquiries. It is unlawful to ask an applicant to disclose his or her marital status as part of a pre-employment inquiry unless pursuant to a permissible defense. (b) Request for Names. For business reasons other than ascertaining marital status, an applicant may be asked whether he or she has ever used another name, e.g., to enable an employer or other covered entity to check the applicant's past work record. (c) Employment of Spouse. It is lawful to ask an applicant to state whether he or she has a spouse who is presently employed by the employer, but this information may not be used as a basis for an employment decision except as stated below. Note: Authority cited: Section 12935(a), Government Code. Reference: Sections 12920, 12921 and 12940, Government Code.

Posted on the last page, it's the exact law this lawyer was "blogging" about.

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