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can you give hiring preference based on where someone lives?

Let's say you have a job in Washington, DC and you only want to hire someone who lives in the city (and not NOVA/MD) can you say that in your ad?  Is it legal to hire based on where someone lives?  Thanks!

Re: can you give hiring preference based on where someone lives?

  • Why would it matter where someone lives? Can't they move to the area if they get the job?
  • No one is going to move to the area for this job :)  Washington, DC was just an example.

    It is a very part time, one day a week job for 4 hours.  I live in a very spread out area and we are getting applicants from  over an hour away.  The pay for the job wouldn't cover their gas to get here and back.  Even if someone just lived 30-40 minutes away it probably wouldn't be worth their time.

    The ad does list where we are located but when I speak to people, they keep saying, "Oh the job sounds nice but I don't want to drive all the way there!"  

    And it isn't the type of job that rocket scientists are applying for so throwing out a candidate for lack of attention to detail isn't a possibility.

  • If it is solely based on distance, yes. If you are excluding neighborhoods, that gets tricky because one could argue you are discriminating against a protected class that lives predominantly in the neighborhood/area/zipcode you are excluding. 

    ETA. I personally think it is pointless. Are you really going to say that someone who lives just one mile farther cannot apply? As an employer, does it really matter? (Assuming normal circumstances. If you hiring, say, volunteer firefighters who had to respond quickly or doctors who will work on call, that could arguably be a bona fide occupational qualification, but again, be careful that you aren't preventing a certain protected class from applying.) 

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  • image HB's Girl:

    ETA. I personally think it is pointless. Are you really going to say that someone who lives just one mile farther cannot apply? As an employer, does it really matter? (Assuming normal circumstances. If you hiring, say, volunteer firefighters who had to respond quickly or doctors who will work on call, that could arguably be a bona fide occupational qualification, but again, be careful that you aren't preventing a certain protected class from applying.) 

    No. I am saying that if someone lives 45 - 60 minutes away vs. 10 - 15 minutes.  Not a mile.  The position pays $8.50 an hour.  Gas is currently $3.70 a gallon.  Between gas and taxes, they may make $1 an hour traveling from 60 minutes away.  What's the point?

  • image Obsession:
    image HB's Girl:

    ETA. I personally think it is pointless. Are you really going to say that someone who lives just one mile farther cannot apply? As an employer, does it really matter? (Assuming normal circumstances. If you hiring, say, volunteer firefighters who had to respond quickly or doctors who will work on call, that could arguably be a bona fide occupational qualification, but again, be careful that you aren't preventing a certain protected class from applying.) 

    No. I am saying that if someone lives 45 - 60 minutes away vs. 10 - 15 minutes.  Not a mile.  The position pays $8.50 an hour.  Gas is currently $3.70 a gallon.  Between gas and taxes, they may make $1 an hour traveling from 60 minutes away.  What's the point?

     

    Why do you care though? Let them decide if its worth it to them. 

  • Yes it is legal. I am a corporate recruiter for a multibillion dollar company.  Right now I am hiring a systems engineer.   The job requires you to live no more than 20 miles from the office.  The person hired will be on call for emergencies and must respond within 1 hour.

    In addition due to the traffic in the city one of our larger offices are in we will not extend job offers to someone who lives outside the beltway.  This is due to the fact we had numerous candidates interview and then turn down the offer due to commute. 

    So yes, completely legal.  Distance yes, neighborhoods no.

     

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  • image IrishBrideND:

    Why do you care though? Let them decide if its worth it to them. 

    This. I would stress in the interview that this is the case, but I don't think you can judge what a job is worth to someone. If they are willing to commute 60 minutes each way for what comes out to $1 an hour, that is their right, yes? 

  • LOL Someone else agrees with me!  I just received this response to my ad:

     

    $34 for 4 hours is spent in gas. You live in XXXXXX. You will definately have a hard time filling this position. Good luck!

     

    Part of me wants to respond with the correct spelling of definitely :)

     

  • image vigurl:

    Yes it is legal. I am a corporate recruiter for a multibillion dollar company.  Right now I am hiring a systems engineer.   The job requires you to live no more than 20 miles from the office.  The person hired will be on call for emergencies and must respond within 1 hour.

    In addition due to the traffic in the city one of our larger offices are in we will not extend job offers to someone who lives outside the beltway.  This is due to the fact we had numerous candidates interview and then turn down the offer due to commute. 

    So yes, completely legal.  Distance yes, neighborhoods no.

     

    OK awesome.  Thanks for answering my question.

  • Just keep in mind that they may have reason for driving out there.  Maybe a female applicant has a husband who works in that town, or elderly parents who she wants to visit, or a weekly book club there that meets the same day.  You never know.

    FWIW, I work at a university and we have professors who travel 2 hours each way to teach one class a week.  Worth the gas money?  No.  But they have other reasons for doing it.

    love this 
  • image IrishBrideND:
    image Obsession:
    image HB's Girl:

    ETA. I personally think it is pointless. Are you really going to say that someone who lives just one mile farther cannot apply? As an employer, does it really matter? (Assuming normal circumstances. If you hiring, say, volunteer firefighters who had to respond quickly or doctors who will work on call, that could arguably be a bona fide occupational qualification, but again, be careful that you aren't preventing a certain protected class from applying.) 

    No. I am saying that if someone lives 45 - 60 minutes away vs. 10 - 15 minutes.  Not a mile.  The position pays $8.50 an hour.  Gas is currently $3.70 a gallon.  Between gas and taxes, they may make $1 an hour traveling from 60 minutes away.  What's the point?

     

    Why do you care though? Let them decide if its worth it to them. 

    Exactly. It is hard to imagine with the current economy, but some people work for what they do.  I mean, if it's fast food, I bet many self screen themselves out due to distance.  But if it is for a particular company, or for particular duties, or toget certain experience, then it is more than just money.

    Now, it is totally fair to express your concerns about commute with an interested applicant.  State your expectations clearly, like tardiness is unacceptable, or if it snows you still expect them to show up.  Hear the applicant out.  IMO, employers should not decide this unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification. 

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  • image vigurl:

    Yes it is legal. I am a corporate recruiter for a multibillion dollar company.  Right now I am hiring a systems engineer.   The job requires you to live no more than 20 miles from the office.  The person hired will be on call for emergencies and must respond within 1 hour.

    In addition due to the traffic in the city one of our larger offices are in we will not extend job offers to someone who lives outside the beltway.  This is due to the fact we had numerous candidates interview and then turn down the offer due to commute. 

    So yes, completely legal.  Distance yes, neighborhoods no.

     

    I also do recruiting and would wonder if you may have discriminate impact claim if you do this.  If it seems(to an applicant) like you are not including certain areas (say x minutes away or x miles) due to race, education, etc. you may have a problem.

    Example: You need to live 20 miles from the office but this is just short of Detroit.  Someone could claim that you are exempting Detroit residents because of race, education, whatever they are thinking and they file claim.

  • I live in a large metro area and at my last job, it was located in the northern suburbs.  It is not easily accessible by train, unless you live in the city.  I was interviewing for my admin, which is the entry level job.  We had several applicants from the southern suburbs--young women who had just graduated and were still living at home.  The southern suburbs, depending on traffic and weather conditions could easily be 3+ hours/day commute.  The admin position had little flexibility in terms of this person needed to be in the office during normal business hours 5 days/week to answer my phone.  HR told me that I could not refuse to talk to/extend offers to people based on where they lived becuase it was illegal.  Even though we had a history of people with simliar commutes quitting after short amounts of time due to the commute.  That being said, my boss, who was also involved in the interview process and I found "reasons" why other candidates were better fits, so we did not even go down that path.  I was sick of training admins and having them quit because of their long commutes. 
  • Its not fair, but it's been done.  I used to temp in a position that was over an hour commute if I drove and 45 minutes by train.  They told my temp agency that they were worried that the long commute would wear me down and I would quit within a few months.

     

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  • image jennifer0124:
    image vigurl:

    Yes it is legal. I am a corporate recruiter for a multibillion dollar company.  Right now I am hiring a systems engineer.   The job requires you to live no more than 20 miles from the office.  The person hired will be on call for emergencies and must respond within 1 hour.

    In addition due to the traffic in the city one of our larger offices are in we will not extend job offers to someone who lives outside the beltway.  This is due to the fact we had numerous candidates interview and then turn down the offer due to commute. 

    So yes, completely legal.  Distance yes, neighborhoods no.

    I also do recruiting and would wonder if you may have discriminate impact claim if you do this.  If it seems(to an applicant) like you are not including certain areas (say x minutes away or x miles) due to race, education, etc. you may have a problem.

    Example: You need to live 20 miles from the office but this is just short of Detroit.  Someone could claim that you are exempting Detroit residents because of race, education, whatever they are thinking and they file claim.

    W/ vigurl's example, if there is an actual business need that you have to be able to be at work w/in an hour - they are probably "protected" (not legally, but they'd easily be able to prove why they have that rule).

    But it's also in how you ask the question.  "This job requires you to be able to report w/ an hours notice.  Can you be here w/in an hour?".  This makes it about the job.  not about where an applicant lives, or how they are able to get to work.

    I used to train an interviewing class.  A safe question was "The work day starts at 9.  Can you be here by 9?".  An unsafe question was "Do you own a car?".   Why does it matter?  As long as they can be there by 9, it shouldn't matter if they walk, ride the bus, or ride their bike. 

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