The California Supreme Court has ruled that businesses performing employment-related tasks, such as U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group, which screens job applicants, can be held accountable under the state’s discrimination law.
This unanimous decision came after claims that U.S. HealthWorks, a third-party medical screening service for employers, posed questions not in line with California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The group allegedly asked prospective employees about prescription medications, pregnancy status, and previous workplace injuries, all considered invasive under the FEHA.
Justice Martin Jenkins, on behalf of the court, stated the FEHA’s purpose is to offer wide-reaching protection for workers. “Exempting businesses affecting working conditions from liability would undermine this intent,” he remarked.
This groundbreaking ruling counters a previous decision by a California federal judge who believed U.S. HealthWorks was not an employer under the FEHA and had thus dismissed the case. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sought clarity from the California Supreme Court, leading to this resolution.
U.S. HealthWorks defended itself, saying it made inquiries as mandated by the individual hiring companies. The California Attorney General’s office supported the plaintiffs, pointing out that if lawmakers wanted to exclude agents from accountability, they would have made it explicit in the evolving FEHA over the years.
Workplace discrimination has long been a concern for many, and this decision sets a crucial precedence. It serves as a reminder that employers have responsibility to ensure their workplace is free from all kinds of discrimination and harassment.
If you believe you’ve been subjected to any form of discrimination at work, whether it be based on race, gender, age, or any other protected characteristic, in the state of California, don’t hesitate to reach out to Labor Law Advocates. Our team of experienced and dedicated professionals is here to provide you with expert guidance, support, and representation to ensure your rights are protected. We are committed to fighting for justice and equality for all.