Monday, December 29, 2008

Employment and Discrimination Class Suit Issues

Can an employer ask a job seeker or applicant information about his past personal marijuana conviction?

It depends on which state you wish to work. But in California, Labor Code section 432.8, prohibits an employer “from soliciting disclosure from applicants of most marijuana convictions that are more than two years old”.

A recent appellate court decision in Starbucks Corp. v. Superior Court (Lords) deals with this similar issue, where three applicants questioned the authority of the employer in asking them about this information.

Court records show that the three plaintiffs filed discrimination class suit against the employer which the court junked because the three had invalid claims and therefore the alleged charges was not sufficient. Consequently, a writ of mandate was granted directing that a summary judgment be granted in favor of the employer.

In this case, the plaintiffs have insufficient basis in their discrimination claim except in the assumption that they were denied employment simply because of the “disclaimer” in question and the question on marijuana convictions.

The court was right in asking that the plaintiffs must first establish that “they fall within the class of persons for whose protection the legislative provision was enacted.” The court reasoned, based on section 432.7(c), that “only an individual with a marijuana-related conviction falls within the class of people the legislature sought to protect.” Thus, the plaintiffs, who had not been convicted of any marijuana offenses, did not fall within the protected class and were not proper representatives of a potential class suing for violations of the state Labor Code.

Pursuing a discrimination class suit involves complex state and federal laws. To help you with this issue, it is important to get the services of a knowledgeable employment attorney who has enough experience in the field.