State and Federal laws prohibit discrimination in hiring. Illegal discrimination occurs when an employer fails to hire due to a job applicant’s age, race, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and other protected traits. Discrimination during the hiring process can often be subtle or overlooked. Employees should be concerned if asked questions that relate to classes protected by discrimination laws. Questions about an applicant’s disabilities, medical information, or use of medical leave may reflect discriminatory motives. If an employer asks about any medical history, or implies that they have concerns about a medical condition, this may evidence discrimination. Hannaford Supermarkets are in the process of hiring substantial numbers of employees in the context of the pandemic.
Hannaford has reportedly hired more than 2,200 store employees since mid-March and has announced plans to hire about 2,000 more associates at stores across its five-state footprint of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts according to the Portland Press Herald. As part of the hiring effort, Hannaford has indicated that it was working with major employers in the hospitality, tourism and retail fields to offer furloughed workers full- and part-time store-level job opportunities, including temporary positions. While Hannaford’s hiring binge may be good news for many, one of the questions asked of applicants is concerning. Hannaford’s application asks applicants: “Are you currently on layoff status, leave of absence or otherwise suspended from employment and subject to recall by another employer? If “yes,” give all details.” This question means that applicants who are on legally protected medical leave may be required to disclose the leave and the reasons for taking it. To the extent that Hannaford’s question elicits information regarding employee’s protected medical leaves and related disabilities and other medical conditions this could lead to unlawful discrimination in hiring.
If you have applied for a position, that you were otherwise qualified for, and you were not offered a job after answering a question such as this, please contact Employee Rights Group for a free consultation.