What you can learn from Quest about job discrimination

On May 9, 2013 New York’s Attorney General gave Quest Diagnostics, a serious slap on the hands.  The medical diagnostic company was found in violation of New York civil rights laws because it was discovered that Quest sometimes rejected applicants based on criminal history.

In addition to a $70,000 fine, Quest pledged that it would not automatically disqualify job applicants in New York because of their criminal history.  New York law does not allow companies that operate in the state to deny job applicants solely because of prior convictions.  Instead, a company must consider other factors including: the nature of the crime and any bearing on the duties of the job in question.

What does this mean for your company?

Quest is a large and well-established corporation and may have been an easy target for New York’s AG.  However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) regulates and polices companies regardless of size or bottom line.

Employers of companies both large and small need to understand what constitutes discrimination in order to protect themselves.  New York and federal law state that it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment including:

  • Hiring and firing
  • Pay, assignment or classification of employees
  • Transfers, promotions, layoffs or recalls
  • Job ads
  • Recruitment
  • Testing, training and apprenticeship programs
  • Use of company facilities
  • Retirement plans
  • Disability and other leaves

Nor may an employer or his employees participate in any of the following discriminatory practices:

  • Harassment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, genetic information, or age
  • Retaliation against an individual for filing discrimination complaints
  • Make employment decisions based on assumptions about a person’s abilities because of sex, race, age, religion, or disability
  • Deny employment because of marriage or association with a person of a certain race, religion, national origin, or a disability.

Don’t get slapped on the hands—talk to a NY employment lawyer

Federal and New York employment law are very specific about employment discrimination—and violations are taken very seriously.  To protect your company, it is vital that your policies and procedures are compliant with the law.  An experienced NY employment lawyer can provide guidance and insight on how best to craft your employment policies.  To discuss your company employment policies and how to strengthen them, contact us online  or call (718)275-6700 today to schedule an appointment.


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