Alaska Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing) laws & HR compliance analysis

Alaska Pre-Employment Inquiries (Interviewing): What you need to know

The Alaska Human Rights Law prohibits employers from making inquiries of prospective employees that state or imply any limitation or discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, disability, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, or parenthood (AK Stat. Sec. 18.80.200et seq.). Inquiries about these factors are permissible, however, if based on a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). The law applies to all employers in the state.
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BFOQ exception. An employer may make an employment inquiry about a protected characteristic only if it is reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the employer's business and there is no less intrusive way to ensure that the applicant will be able to perform the essential functions of the job in question. In order to be a BFOQ, a characteristic must be absolutely essential to the applicant's ability to perform the job. For example, being female would be a legitimate BFOQ for a person applying for a job as a model of women's clothing. The BFOQ exception applies only in limited circumstances, and in general, courts have been extremely reluctant to sanction otherwise discriminatory practices on BFOQ grounds. Employers should use caution in relying on the BFOQ rationale and should always consult with legal counsel before making any inquiries on the basis of a BFOQ.
Drug testing. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a "one-strike rule" did not violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by permanently eliminating from consideration any applicant who had ever tested positive for drug or alcohol use during the preemployment application process (Lopez v. Pacific Maritime Ass'n., 657 F.3d 762 (9th Cir. 2011)). In ...

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