Nebraska patrol accused of requiring invasive exams for women before hiring
We love to highlight the awesome accomplishments of daring women and celebrate our collective voices. But sometimes we come across new stories of discrimination that make us realize we still have much to overcome in hopes of achieving equality. This alleged case is one of those instances.
The Nebraska State Patrol has required female recruits to receive pelvic and rectal exams performed by a male doctor before they can be hired, according to a new federal lawsuit as well as a criminal investigation.
A state trooper filed the lawsuit against the patrol, as well as the state of Nebraska, accusing them of creating a hostile work environment for women.
According to the lawsuit, women recruits have been required to have vaginal and rectal exams for years so that the doctor could allegedly check for hernias. Also according to the lawsuit, the exam was only performed on women.
You can read more about the lawsuit and the allegations here.
So what can women do to stop disturbing trends like this alleged case? We talked to an expert, Shasta Erickson of helpdeskHR to get advice to job seekers.
Know your rights
Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a qualified applicant with a disability. We asked Shasta the types of red flag questions to watch out for.
Shasta: “There is an endless number of red flag questions out there. I think that if job seekers familiarize themselves with what employers should be doing, it will be easier to recognize when they do something they shouldn’t.
During the interview, employers cannot ask about disabilities or medical conditions (condition, prognosis, treatment, medication, sick days, height, weight, age, etc.). What they should be doing is focusing on the essential functions of the job and asking if the applicant can perform them.
For example: “This job requires long periods of standing and lifting boxes weighing 50lbs on a regular basis. Are you able to perform the necessary duties and complete them safely?” Employers can ask if the applicant will need a reasonable accommodation, and if there is an obvious disability, they can ask the applicant to demonstrate how he or she would perform the function. “
Physical exams are okay… to an extent
Depending on the job you want to perform, a company might ask for specific tests.
Shasta explains: “Under the ADA, employers can require a medical exam, but only after the offer of employment has been given and only if the results of the test are directly related to the employee’s ability to do the job and the exam is required of all other applicants for the same type of job. If the exam reveals a disability, the offer cannot be withdrawn simply because of the disability. The employer can only withdraw the offer if it can be established that the applicant is unable to perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation, or that the applicant poses a substantial risk to herself or others.”
Take Notes & Report it!
Even if circumstances mean you do not take a new position with the company you are interviewing with, you can still file a complaint against them.
Here is a link to file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—if preferred, you can file anonymously.
You may also want to report your experience to the HR department of the hiring company.
Shasta’s advice: “If illegal or inappropriate questions are asked in an interview, take detailed notes including specific wording. Discrimination in hiring can be hard to prove, but an attorney can help determine if there is a case. Another option is to contact the HR department for the company to let them know what happened—this will likely not result in getting the job, but bringing it to the company’s attention could bring a stop to the practice.”
Contact Shasta with helpdeskHR by clicking here.
The HERdacity ‘Can You Believe This Sh*#t?!’ series aims to empower women’s voices when they fight back against issues such as sexism, gender bias or sexual assault.
We want to highlight women’s stories and provide ‘in the moment responses’ so HERdacity members feel empowered and daring to face these issues in their own ways and in their own lives.
With these shared stories and responses, HERdacity is creating more resources and toolkits to help all women confront and manage these types of issues. By sharing your comments and your own experiences, you’re helping us build a stronger community—and change our culture.
Feel free to comment below as well as email me at email@example.com, if you have comments or stories you would like to share.