Legal Question in Employment Law in California

My friend recently applied for a job. The prospective employer learned she did not have a car and stated she could not be considered for the job. This was an office clerical job -- not a job which required her to drive in the performance of her duties. In this instance, is it legal for an employer to require that one "have a reliable car" to get to work?

Asked on 1/28/13, 3:54 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Charles Perry Law Offices of Charles R. Perry

I see nothing improper about the stated reason given by the prospective employer of your friend. If your friend cannot establish that the reason was a pretext for some form of illegal discrimination, she has no claim against the prospective employer.

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Answered on 1/28/13, 5:00 am

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Employers can set any requirements they want unless it is something specifically prohibited by law - which is mostly discrimination based on gender, race, etc. "Unfair labor practices" only applies to unions, not individual employees or applicants. For better or worse there are no laws against unfair treatment of employees or any other bad management practices.

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Answered on 1/28/13, 8:47 am
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Legal?? Of course.

Employers are entirely free to determine the qualifications for jobs. In this case, I will assume that they believe a personal care would make it more likely that the employee would have better attendance than relying on public transportation that would make for difficult and far longer commute times than a personal car. Nothing 'illegal' at all. You apparently gravely misunderstand the definitions of 'legal' and 'rights' as applied to employment.

Not only are there no laws against poor management, 'unfair treatment', or rude, obnoxious or harassing behavior by management or other employees, but in general, unless an employee is civil service, in a union, or has a written employment contract, they are an 'at will' employee that can be disciplined or terminated any time for any reason, with or without ‘cause’, explanation or notice. That is, UNLESS the conduct is based upon discrimination, harassment or retaliation as defined as actually ‘illegal’ under the ADA [disability], Civil Rights [age, race, sex, ethnic, religion, pregnancy, etc], FMLA [medical leave], Whistle-blower, or similar statutes.

Any employee's goal should be to keep their supervisors happy and make them look good to the company, and make the company money. That’s how the company pays employee wages. If you don't, then don't be surprised to be replaced.

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Answered on 1/28/13, 11:36 am

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