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Weekend Roundup: Risks of Physical Testing, Driver Drug Test Overhaul, and More

If your company conducts pre-employment physical testing, are you taking the potential liability into account? The EEOC is cracking down on the potential for discrimination inherent in the policy. In other news, the Trucking Alliance is working to reform industry-standard drug testing for drivers and California is battling confusion about its ban on inquiries into job applicants’ salary histories. It’s your Weekend Roundup:

EEOC Cracks Down on Pre-Employment Physical Testing

If your company uses pre-employment physical stress tests for job applicants that result in the rejection of female applicants, you could be in a world of hurt if the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finds out.

That’s what happened to Hirschbach Motor Lines, which used a pre-employment back assessment to screen and reject applicants it believed would be unable to work as truck drivers. Applicants were tested for their ability to balance and stand on one leg, touch their toes while standing on one leg, and to crawl.

EEOC claimed the company used this assessment to screen out applicants with pre-existing injuries and/or medical conditions after they had already received a conditional employment offer.

Coalition of Carriers Seek Overhaul of Driver Drug Testing Protocol Amid Lag in Smaller Reforms

Since 1991, federal law has required applicants for truck driving jobs to be screened for drug use via a urine sample test. However, efforts of late by some of the country’s largest carriers seek to alter that law, hoping instead to see drivers screened via a hair sample test in lieu of the decades-long urine sample standard.

The carriers, who make up the trade association the Trucking Alliance, argue that hair sample tests are more reliable in detecting drug use of driver applicants, particularly for users of opioids—use of which has surged since the urine sample standard was adopted in 1991. The Alliance is lobbying Congress to take up legislation to require applicants for driving jobs to be tested via a hair sample, either in lieu of or in addition to a urine sample test.

California Attempts to Clarify Salary History Ban

On July 18, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed new legislation (A.B. 2282) to clarify the state’s law that prohibits inquiries into an applicant’s salary history.

When A.B. 168 was signed into law in October 2017, California prohibited employers from asking job applicants for “salary history information.” Under this legislation, California employers must provide “applicants” with the “pay scale” for a position upon “reasonable request.” The law was rather unclear, however, about what each of these three terms meant.

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