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Joseph
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Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5276
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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Today, I received a disturbing email from a prospective employer. I

Resolved Question:

Today, I received a disturbing email from a prospective employer.

I do not want to mention the indidvidual's name who sent the email or company name for confidentiality reasons, but here is a portion of what was sent to me in the actual email.

"Thanks for accepting my connection request on LinkedIn. Currently, we have a very good career opportunity for you to consider."

Job Title: Sales Manager – West Coast (USA)
Experience: Atleast 8-10 years
Compensation and Benefits: Among the best in the Industry

If you are interested in the above mentioned position, please send us your approval with below details ASAP along with your updated resume:

1. Name
2. Nationality
3. Age
4. Educational & Technical Qualifications, Passing Year
5. Total years of experience / Experience
6. Notice period / Availability to join
7. Marital Status / Children No.
8. Current Contact No. / alternate contact no

I did some research, and the company in question is an international company with offices throughout the world including an office in California. The email was sent to me by an actual employee of the company itself.

I'm going to assume there is a huge legal liability but wanted to get your input before I contact an attorney.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

I'm not sure what you mean by this being a 'disturbing' email.

This is a pretty standard recruiting type of email being sent to you by the company because they would like you to apply for an open position via LinkedIn.

Can you tell me what legal liability do you think applies in this situation?

Do you want to know if you can file suit against this company or the employer?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Are you not aware that it is illegal for a prospective employer to ask you the following?


 


1. How old you are


2. What your nationality is


3. If you are married


4. How many children you have


 


All four of these questions are illegal!

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello Tom,

Yes, of course I am aware of that.

You didn't specify what part of the message you found disturbing. I assumed that you had been offended by the recruiting email itself and not the information it requested.

I find it incredibly strange that an employer would send out such a request (especially via email) asking these illegal questions.

You said it was sent from an employee of the company? Do you know if the employee works in a hiring capacity for the company?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The part I found disturbing were the illegal questions.


 


I know the company has an office in California but I believe they are based in either India or Austria.


 


The gentleman who sent the email is employed by the company as an internal recruiter. In fact, I am connected with him on LinkedIn.

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello Tom,

I regret to inform you that there is not a huge amount of liability here.

While this information request is definitely illegal, in order to have a cause of action against the prospective employer you would need to demonstrate some financial harm. This normally means that you would have to prove that you were qualified for the job and were denied it due to supplying the information requested.

Typically, this necessitates an actual interview for the job, rather than just a request that you apply for the job. For the above reasons, while the requests you received were illegal, unless you can demonstrate some financial harm, you lack the necessary element of damages to make a claim against this prospective employer.

For the above reasons, it’s highly unlikely that an attorney would be interested in taking the case on a contingency basis due to the low chance of recovery, and due to the damages issue, it would be a waste of money to pay an attorney hourly or a flat fee to pursue this.

I realize this is not the news you wanted to hear, and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you but I hope you appreciate a direct and honest answer to your question.

Since my goal is to provide you with the best service today, please don’t hesitate to ask any follow up questions.

If you don’t have any, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work.

Thanks and best of luck!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Interesting answer given that I have already hired an attorney on a 30% contingency fee agreement. The individual who sent me the email found me on Linkedin where I also have a photo posted. He read my profile on Linkedin and then reached out to me via email with the job opportunity. Because I am in a protected class (over 40) and the company in question is a publicly traded company, my attorney believes it will be extremely easy to get a quick out-of-court settlement for between $50,000 - $100,000 based on the email proof requesting protected information that has nothing to do with my qualifications for the job itself. Moreover, he said it will be a "Walk In The Park" and take no more than three months to settle based on his experience. He actually couldn't believe somebody would put those questions in writing given the legality involved.


 


Anyway, thanks for your answer, but the attorney I hired says it will be an easy out-of-court settlement because of the email trail.

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.

Well, the attorney you hired certainly doesn't lack self-confidence, although he's a bit shady on legal ethics by promising a large settlement in a matter of months, as well as the necessary elements to a discrimination cause of action.

 

I highly resent the implication that because you found an attorney willing to take your case that my answer is somehow incorrect. There are over 300,000 attorneys in California, and surprise, but not all of them know what they're talking about.

 

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505125_162-57387286/when-illegal-interview-questions-are-legal/

 

I entirely agree that it is unbelievable that someone would put such questions in writing, but I'm not sure how he's calculating damages for a solicitation for a position you may not have even been interested in applying for. Since you didn't apply, let alone even answer these questions, it's impossible to prove you would have otherwise got the job had you not been discriminated against, as you were not the victim of discrimination but of receiving an email with illegal job questions in it.

 

But who knows, you may just get that settlement based on a case that wouldn't make it through a summary judgment motion written by a 2L. Good luck!

Joseph, Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 5276
Experience: Extensive experience representing employees and management
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

What you have to understand is how most companies handle cases like these. For example, a few years ago, I had a General Manager ask a prospective employee what city he lived in during a job interview. When the candidate didn't get the job, he hired an attorney to file a discrimination complaint suggesting that because he lived two hours away, he was denied employment because my GM ended up hiring someone who lived 20 minutes away. Although my GM did not make the hiring decision based on where the candidate lived, it is illegal to ask a prospective employee where they live. What he should have asked is can your work 8a-5p Monday-Friday. Anyway, my company ended up giving the guy $25k to "Go Away" because as is the case with most companies, they don't want to deal with any lawsuit and 70% of the time settle out of court.


 


In my case, my attorney believes that because the company has deep pockets, and there is an email trail, the company in question will want to settle quickly.


 


My attorney has suggested I do answer the questions because if I do not ultimately get at least an interview based on my answers to the illegal questions, my case will become even stronger so we'll see what happens.


 


I did speak to five attorneys. Two weren't interested, and the other three were foaming at the mouth to take the case on because unlike a verbal interview where it is a "He said/She said" scenario, I actually have the questions in writing which my attorney believes the recruiter is using to determine who gets to interview for the job versus who does not get to interview for the job.

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
I do definitely agree that you should answer the questions. Then if you get an interview and are ultimately denied the job you would have a case. Otherwise, you don't have a cause of action, because you're missing 1) the actual discriminatory event and 2) damages. You just have an email with questions that if answered could lead to discrimination.

I have worked at a large firm defending 'cases like these.' (Although my sympathies are on the employee/ union side).

Large public companies have large law firms with lots of smart attorneys. The company is not just going to hand your attorney a %50k to $100k check when your case is missing actual discrimination and damages that a law student should spot.

I'm a little concerned that 3/5 attorneys you talked to don't seem to know the law, and that one is incredibly self-confident in his ignorance as well as committing acts of malpractice. (Which is probably what you'll think when you haven't gotten anything from this case in a year).

In your above example, it's easy to infer that the person was denied the job at the interview based on where he lived, which he was, and that's what you NEED TO PROVE in a DISCRIMINATION CAUSE OF ACTION, which your attorney seems to be missing.

In your case, without you answering any of the questions or interviewing, it's impossible to prove discrimination and damages.
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
All the above said, I do appreciate your positive rating of my service, and I've got a feeling you'll be more appreciative of my answers later on once your attorney fails to get you and him an easy pay day.

(No offense, but getting an email like this should not be like winning the employment discrimination lottery. Call me an idealist, but I think discrimination law should be reserved for actual victims not opportunists).

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