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EOE Concerns w/ Electronic-only Job Application?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the paper-applications-should-still-be-an-option dept.

402

Khyber asks: "Jobs seem to be increasingly harder to find in the real world today, and even harder to obtain due to the increased proliferation of on-line-only or electronic-only job applications. I know this firsthand - as today I attempted to apply for a job at Kroger's, only to discover that I had to fill out one of these electronic applications in their 'Career Opportunities Kiosk.' The machine miserably failed to get past the second page of the multi-paged the application. I've asked the manager if there was a paper application to fill out (why do I need to know how to use a computer to stock shelves?) and he has told me that I -must- fill out the application on their broken and defunct Dell Genesis Terminal. Are there legal concerns that I should be looking at, here?""Kroger's claims to be an EOE employer, however I feel that I am being denied my equal opportunity to gain employment due to the failings of a broken piece of software and hardware, and the refusal by the manager to give me a paper application to fill out, as an alternative. Can this be considered discriminatory to those of a lower education level in their attempt to obtain a job, as well? Are there any laws on the books that give me the opportunity to fill out the application on paper as opposed to digitally?"

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402 comments

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Regulations Regulations Regulations (1, Insightful)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168010)

With all the regs out there now about privacy (Sarbanes, etc.) I'm betting that is what this is about, in addition to most companies using HR systems to do their work. Paper apps would take time to enter, and that costs money.

unoth post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168016)

unoth post

Legal Concerns? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168019)

I kind of doubt there is much your going to be able to find. As long as the application is available in one way or another to those with disabilites, then there's likely nothing you can do. I can understand the frustration, seems silly that the manager wasn't more concerned that their only way of collecting applicants was not working. Guess new hirings are not high on the list.

Re:Legal Concerns? (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168195)

Actually, the application isn't available. It's the equivalent of handing someone a paper application written in hieroglyphics, with a nice big warning up at the top written in english saying "any application not filled out completely and correctly will be tossed".

It's an unreasonable and insurmountable burden to completing the application, even if it is theoretically possible to comply.

Re:Legal Concerns? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168242)

So long as the same application is given to all races, genders, sexual orientations, etc you can write the application in english or Linear B and its legal.

Re:Legal Concerns? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168259)

But still there is no legal recourse, especially under EOE. If the application is unavailable, its unavailable to everyone. Of course, as others have mentioned, it is available online as well.

you have much to learn, young grasshopper (1, Offtopic)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168022)

the broken machine _was_ the test. the applicant they were looking for would be the one that would fix it themselves. /least thats how I would do it //cause i'm malicious like that

mods on _crack_ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168151)

how the f is that offtopic?

its perfectly on-topic, even if its retarded

jb

Discrimination / lower education level (2, Insightful)

SpaceAdmiral (869318) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168032)

discriminatory to those of a lower education level in their attempt to obtain a job

Um . . . I wouldn't want to work for a company that didn't discriminate based on education level.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168098)

For stocking shelves? Usually companies consider someone with any education to be over qualified for a job like this, since such an applicant will probably leave at the first opportunity.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (1)

Groo Wanderer (180806) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168127)

So I guess you have already written off a military career..... :)

            -Charlie

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (2, Insightful)

CagedBear (902435) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168261)

.So I guess you have already written off a military career..... :)

Last time I checked (early 90's) the military wasn't accepting anyone without a high school diploma or GED. Has this rule changed since then?

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168316)

The police certainly don't want anyone over 100, that's for sure.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (0, Troll)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168263)

The job itself discriminates- the opposite way. If you have any other option available that will keep you and your family fed, would you rather take:

1)A low paying menial and boring job
2)A low paying job thats boring 95% of the time, and has a high probability of being fucking shot the other 5%

Intelligent people take #1.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (3, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168373)

In fairness, there's always a finite probability that you will be fucking shot, stabbed, run over, horsebit, snakewhipped, mugged, mutilated, rape, gagged, bound, drowned, cornholed, blown up, crashed, hit with a frikken jet, crushed by a falling building, or forced to train cheap foreign replacements in any lifestyle.

The military forces you to confront this early, it's a great level set for the rest of your life.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (0)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168162)

I'm not sure most companies particularly want to hire someone who can't complete the application process and then posts about it in a national public forum.

I mean, "I couldn't use the application kiosk" doesn't exactly scream "competent employee!"

Maybe if he figured out how to get the thing fixed (who to call, whatever), or fixed it himself (assuming it's really a problem with the machine), he'd be a lot more attractive as an employee who can solve problems for the company instead of creating them.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (1)

Asgard (60200) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168207)

Such a machine is probably configured to be in kiosk-only mode, so either it isn't possible to fix it w/o the magic admin keystrokes, or attempts to bypass that security would get one swiftly evicted from the store if not arrested.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (1)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168243)

I'd look at it more as a failure of the application. If he's saying the process failed, I'm betting it was the failure of a javascript or php application, one that when you submit data, you get some garbage error code back saying to notify the administrator about what's broken. I'd be pissed off, too, if I found myself in that situation, though I'd be asking the manager if there was an external url that the application could be completed from, so I could go home and try it from there.

I don't think there's any actual discrimination going on, but the guy could have tried to approach the manner from a different angle. Another option might have been finding a different store to see if it was a problem local to the first store.

Ah, hell, I know, too much like work, but when you solve these kinds of problems for a living, it becomes second nature.

How could he apply? (2, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168295)

If I read his issue correctly it seems the problem wasn't he didn't know how to use the kiosk, the problem was the kiosk wasn't working ("machine miserably failed to get past the second page"), nor was the other one they pointed him to ("their broken and defunct Dell Genesis Terminal"). He also commented that the application process seemed to require computer use for a job that didn't require it, not that he didn't know how to use one.

So his problem is with a company not providing a means to apply for a job, which may be discriminatory if they don't provide a reasonable means to apply to the general public.

"Maybe if he figured out how to get the thing fixed (who to call, whatever), or fixed it himself". Stores LOVE it when people come in and start screwing around with their equipment. That would go over real well. Plus, if you know how to fix a piece of equipment you've never seen before on the spot then you probably don't need a job in retail.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168183)

What about positions like shelf stocking? How much education does that need?

I'd probably find it easier to fill out the online form though... An injury caused me to have reduced fine motor control, so I'd have real difficulty handwriting in tiny boxes.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168322)

Elitism is why it is so expensive to live in the western world.

Re:Discrimination / lower education level (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168328)

You obviously never heard of the would-be cop who was turned down for the job because his I.Q. was too high [chrononhotonthologos.com] .

Mod Story -1 Troll (5, Funny)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168035)

Let's see, you're asking for legal advice on Slashdot and the reason you need the advice is that you don't know how to use a computer? You're about 19 days too late.

Re:Mod Story +5 Funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168283)

Oh, come on! Score +5 Funny. I laughed so hard when I read that question I had cookie crumbs coming out my nose!

Maybe he can have Cliff's job...

Re:Mod Story +5 Funny (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168317)

Oh, come on! Score +5 Funny.

Sure, but 6 points deducted for not mentioning Ponies

Hey, I don't make the rules; there's no point in complaining to me about it. No Ponies, no +5.

Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (5, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168036)

"Can this be considered discriminatory to those of a lower education level in their attempt to obtain a job, as well?"

"Equal opportunity employer" means they do not discriminate on the basis of legally protected traits (such as those protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 [wikipedia.org] - race, color, religion, sex, or national origin). Education (or lack there) is *NOT* a protected characteristic. They are perfectly free to say that people who have below a certain level of education need not apply. (And the reverse is also true - I remember hearing about a police department in New Hamshipre that would not take applicants with above a 105 IQ, citing the high rate of burnout due to boredom)

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (0, Flamebait)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168068)

I remember hearing about a police department in New Hamshipre that would not take applicants with above a 105 IQ, citing their appall upon discovering the true purpose of police is control and oppression

Fixed.

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (1)

ednopantz (467288) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168202)

>I remember hearing about a police department in New Hamshipre that would not take applicants with above a 105 IQ, citing their appall upon discovering the true purpose of police is control and oppression

Shouldn't you be toking up all day today hippie?

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (4, Interesting)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168114)

Legal precedents have determined that unless a job *requires* a certain level of education then it is illegal to discriminate based on it. I don't remember the case name, but it was early 1900s, involved a coal miner.

I is unedumicated (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168184)

I have a GED, and 10 years of UNIX systems administration experience. My education level has never been a problem with my ability to do my job, unless the HRC thinks it is.

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (2, Informative)

clifyt (11768) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168226)

"would not take applicants with above a 105 IQ"

Actually *IQ* tests for employment are illegal.

Aptitude tests and other exams that highly correlate towards IQ but is not the main output of the exam are, however, mostly legal.

There are exceptions...for instance the afore mentioned aptitude test could be found illegal if it were proven that the employeer was in fact using it because of its high correlations to IQ and not because of what it claimed to measure.

I design these sorts of tests for a living and we have to be careful about how they are used lest someone decided to sue us along with the folks that administered the test. Luckily, almost everything we do is aimed at the educational market (and even then it isn't there to get a 'rating' of sorts -- its there to help make an assessment to better serve students in areas they may need help in -- and will revoke liceses from anyone that is using our software in a way that is not condusive to our stated policies and goals).

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (1)

LeonGeeste (917243) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168314)

Actually *IQ* tests for employment are illegal.

And that's the biggest crock in the world. You *can't* administer an IQ test as a requirement for a job position, but it's legal and in fact encouraged to require a college degree, knowing full well that colleges administer an IQ test (SAT). And of the jobs that "require" a college degree, let's not kid ourselves -- very few actually need it. Whatever knowledge is needed can usually be gained elsewhere. It's just a way to cull the field of applicants.

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (-1, Troll)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168228)

(And the reverse is also true - I remember hearing about a police department in New Hamshipre that would not take applicants with above a 105 IQ, citing the high rate of burnout due to boredom)

That, and the smart ones might start to question all of those new unconstitutional things coming down the pipeline.

Gotta me able to convince the jack-booted thugs there is no issue with illegal search and seizure, or the beatings behind the police station. The dumb ones never question orders.

Man ... all kidding aside ... why on Earth would you want people who are strictly of average intelligence and below to be the ones who you rely on to interpret and enforce your laws??? Their detectives must be like the friggin' Packled!!

a 105 IQ? (1)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168248)

OMFG! Please back this up! That is not significantly off the normal range.

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168279)

I remember hearing about a police department in New Hamshipre that would not take applicants with above a 105 IQ, citing the high rate of burnout due to boredom

I wonder how they came up with a dumb policy like that...

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (1)

foonf (447461) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168309)

Education (or lack there) is *NOT* a protected characteristic. They are perfectly free to say that people who have below a certain level of education need not apply.

Actually, using IQ and education level in hiring is [wikipedia.org] considered in violation of civil rights laws in some circumstances, if the requirements are not "reasonably related" to the job in question.

Re:Submitter totally misunderstands what EOE means (1)

kbielefe (606566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168326)

I remember hearing about a police department in New Hamshipre that would not take applicants with above a 105 IQ

It's not necessarily limited to jobs that don't require a college degree. I know a guy who couldn't get a job as a software engineer until he took his doctorate off of his resumé.

"Disparate impact" (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168352)

I don't have a citation for you but there was a company that required prospective janitors to have a high school diploma. They got in trouble and had to stop. The government's reasoning was that the job didn't require a high school diploma, and while the business might have a right to demand irrelevant qualifications they didn't have the right to demand irrelevant qualifications that discriminted against minorities.

Might not be what you think (2, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168040)

and he has told me that I -must- fill out the application on their broken and defunct Dell Genesis Terminal.

Maybe, just maybe they want to discourage you from applying. Maybe they don't like your face and tell you to use the broken machine, in the hope that you'll just give up, and they reserve hand-written applications forms for applicants that look more "kosher" than you to them.

I knew of an employer you used such tactics with applicants of black and arabic origins: he didn't want to be sued for racial discrimination, so he made sure non-white applicants had a really hard time applying.

Re:Might not be what you think (1)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168251)


There are tons of cases of this that ended up costing companies big money. The interview process must be the same for everyone... one company lost a considerable amount because one guy that had some issue (was either black, or had some other difference the person didn't like), and that person's interview was only 10 minutes, compared to the normal 45minute interview everyone else got.

It is way to easy to prove that an artificial barrier is in place for certain types of people.

Jumping through hoops *is* the interview. (3, Interesting)

funwithBSD (245349) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168334)

I tell you what, I got my first job because of one simple thing. I stuck it out in lobby while he kept me sitting around for 45 minutes.

That was all he really wanted to know, did I want the job enough to jump some simple hoops? or was I a QUITTER?

Pretty much the interview was for show, I had the job barring being a total moron in the short interview.

You don't have a work history, neither did I at the time, so what do they judge you on?

They judge you how much do you want the job. When you have provable value and skills you can complain about how they jerked you around.
In the meantime, they saved themselves hiring a guy that gives up easy.

In other words, you have choosen poorly. Now learn from it.

Learning is not compulsory... niether is survival. -Deming

no you need to stop being a whiney bitch. (5, Informative)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168041)

stop being a whiney bitch. If their terminal sucked, so what? You obviously have internet access to be posting your story to slashdot, and every public library has internet access, so you and the general public can apply online at Kroger's website.

http://www.kroger.com/careers.htm [kroger.com]

Accomodations because you can't use a computer? (4, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168047)

It's going to be hard to convince them you need any accomodations, when you're posting to Slashdot to ask for advice!

Re:Accomodations because you can't use a computer? (1)

abiessu (74684) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168193)

As funny as it is to say that, it doesn't address the poster's question. It might be good to avoid working with this 'broken' machine -- so broken that the app. can't be filled out? so broken that it's a privacy violation to be required to use it? not sure what the poster means by 'broken'... -- and the manager said no. So asking for alternate options (including potential legal recourse) seems reasonable.

I think the 'why do I need to know how to use a computer to stock shelves' question is one potential argument, and the poster is looking for others.

Re:Accomodations because you can't use a computer? (1)

iceborer (684929) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168204)

It's going to be hard to convince them you need any accomodations, when you're posting to Slashdot to ask for advice!

Actually, that may be exactly what convinces them!

WTF? (1)

monkeydo (173558) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168055)

Why don't you call your local bar association and ask for a referral to an employement lawyer? You aren't going to get a satisfactory answer to your question here.

Re:WTF? (2, Funny)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168097)

Why don't you call your local bar association and ask for a referral to an employement lawyer?

The bar association wouldn't give me a referral unless I filled out an electronic form specifying what kind of lawyer I wanted to talk to!

you have to have have some basic skills (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168057)

to be able to fill out even a paper application. You have to be able to read and write. Adding basic mouse clicking and typing skills to the list seems pretty minor.

If the server is broken, then the server is broken (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168166)

Adding basic mouse clicking and typing skills to the list seems pretty minor.

All the basic mouse clicking and typing skills in the world won't get you past "Connection timed out" or "The document contains no data" even after several reloads.

Re:If the server is broken, then the server is bro (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168292)

The poster asked, "Can this be considered discriminatory to those of a lower education level in their attempt to obtain a job, as well?"

Jobs are hard to find? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168061)

Jobs seem to be increasingly harder to find in the real world today

Huh? Its easier than ever to find a job.

Re:Jobs are hard to find? (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168356)

No kidding...

I drove through Taco Bell at lunch time, they had rows of "Help Wanted" fliers taped to the window for job positions there. They're offering $9/hour, starting pay. They might as well be begging people to work for them.

The local McDonald's even went a step further. They have a large, approximately 9' square sign posted next to the drive through, offering similar wages to Taco Bell.

Re:Jobs are hard to find? (1)

TibbonZero (571809) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168372)

You apparently don't work in the music/entertainment industry.

limits job selection (0, Offtopic)

qrkster (814248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168062)

No wonder why the American unemployement rate is so high. It's all these illegal immigrants who were never educated in technology or the english language are the ones who are failing these job applications.

Re:limits job selection (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168109)

Maybe you should consider learning the English language yourself before you start bashing anyone else.

And a ./ reader wants to work at Kroeger's why?!?! (1)

gwhenning (693443) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168070)

I think the more important question is: "Have enough IT jobs gone to foreign countries that we're being forced to bag groceries for a living?"

Seriously, unless you're planning to get rich via discrimination lawsuit does it matter?

Re:And a ./ reader wants to work at Kroeger's why? (1)

PenguinBoyDave (806137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168180)

Don't most slashdot reader work there?

I'M KIDDING!!!

Re:And a ./ reader wants to work at Kroeger's why? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168288)

Yes it is

I had less than 1 year of experience being a NT/Netware Lan admin when my job went to India as we moved our IT operations there.

I have no college degree so no one would hire me. I work at 7.50/hr now and live at home with my parents while I get my degree. I gave up in computers and I am quite bitter and dont want to go back in the field again.

Re:And a ./ reader wants to work at Kroeger's why? (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168342)

No skills + no experience + no education
Not trying to be funny, but do you think that might be why you don't have a high paying job in your chosen field?

glad they're gone (5, Funny)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168072)

I used to *hate* filling out gobs of paper applications - they'd inevitably have something like

write your entire life history here -> [______]
Do not omit significant details.

in a little 1/2" square box.

Re:glad they're gone (1)

computational super (740265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168268)

And COBOL-based electronic application programs that cut you off at 30 characters and disallow lower-case are better? At least on the paper applications, there was a margin to write in.

Legal Concerns? Look Deeper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168076)

Are there legal concerns that I should be looking at, here?

The only legal concerns relate to the system that put you in your current situation. I'm puzzled home someone (a) literate enough to write such a thoughtful article summary for slashdot (perhaps a first), (b) electronically hip enough to use an online community like /., and not something like livejournal or myspace or whaterver, and (c) yet somehow has to apply for a job at a grocery store.

Perhaps your state-supplied education failed you. Perhaps the politicians you trusted don't "get" that the world is now flat, and that your skills should be better than that of store clerk. Look at these problems when you size up your legal options.

Why aren't you fixing the Kiosk code, or making a better version of the kiosk? I think there are some legal concerns here: sue the bastards who put you in such a position, even if it only serves to highlight your own contribution to your problems.

What the heck are you talking about? (5, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168082)

You're saying you couldn't complete the application because the terminal was a piece of crap. How is this an Equal Opportunity violation? Are you saying that perhaps an Asian person (or, if you're Asian, suppose an African) might have better luck operating the machine? Your Equal Opportunity has been denied because people of your race, religion, color, or creed have an inherent disadvantage in operating this particular terminal?

Everybody has an Equal Opportunity to operate this crappy machine. Honestly I have no idea what the hell you're going on about.

that's life, deal with it. (1)

Wise Dragon (71071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168085)

In real life stuff doesn't always work. Employers don't bend over backwards to make your job search as easy as possible. Maybe once you have gained some of this experience you won't be looking to stock shelves at Krogers. Until then, suck it up and solve your own problems, and don't look for society (laws) to solve your problems. We don't really give a rip.

Re:that's life, deal with it. (1)

jledgerwood (882985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168170)

Agreed. Too many people try to fall back on the discrimination safety net when their "personal needs" aren't being met. Shut the hell up and go find a different grocery store to stock.

Equal opportunity rejection (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168093)

If the machine is broken, then the device is equally rejecting all applicants. On the other hand, if it doesn't work for visually impaired people then you may have a claim.

I'm not sure I understand your story: if the company's photocopier was broken and they couldn't give you a paper form, would you post to Slashdot about it being unequal? Or would you just wait until they fixed it? Did the manager refuse to fix the machine? Is the problem a broken machine or a bad design? If you are critiquing software, maybe a job at Krogers isn't for you. Alternatively, if you tried to be 31337 and broke the machine, then it is discriminating against hackers. :-)

Re:Equal opportunity rejection (1)

(A)*(B)!0_- (888552) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168163)

I don't think blind people have a right to stock shelves at a grocery store. From the ADA [eeoc.gov] , "An employer is required to make a reasonable accommodation to the known disability of a qualified applicant or employee if it would not impose an "undue hardship" on the operation of the employer's business. Undue hardship is defined as an action requiring significant difficulty or expense when considered in light of factors such as an employer's size, financial resources, and the nature and structure of its operation."

Creating a system where the blind could stock shelves is an undue hardship. You think distributors are going to start shipping Kroger's boxes of produce with braille printed for a low price?

So no, you're stretching and it doesn't apply in this situation. The kid needs to stop whining and find a job already.

The key word is EQUAL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168095)

How do you feel you weren't put on EQUAL grounds with other applicants for the position? They all had to use the crappy terminal, too, right? If they forced one group of applicants (say, black) to use the terminals, but gave another (say, white) the choice, THAT would be inequality.

Also, you question about whether it can be discriminatory to those of lower education. This boggles the mind. Do you not understand the difference between protected categories of discrimination and illegal discrimination? It's perfectly legal to discriminate based on education. That's so fundamental to applying for a job that I'm amazed I have to point it out. For example, if you are illiterate, you are SOL when it comes to filling out a paper application.

Anyway, here's something from the EEOC website (http://www.eeoc.gov/abouteeo/overview_practices.h tml [eeoc.gov] ):

Discriminatory practices under these laws also include:

        * harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age;
        * retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices;
        * employment decisions based on stereotypes or assumptions about the abilities, traits, or performance of individuals of a certain sex, race, age, religion, or ethnic group, or individuals with disabilities; and
        * denying employment opportunities to a person because of marriage to, or association with, an individual of a particular race, religion, national origin, or an individual with a disability. Title VII also prohibits discrimination because of participation in schools or places of worship associated with a particular racial, ethnic, or religious group.


Someone MIGHT be able to make a case for disability in this instance, but I doubt even that would stand up. The simple fact of the matter is that someone having a crappy hiring system that affects everyone equally is by definition NOT discriminatory.

Being a moron is not a disability... (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168099)

If the machine was broken, it was broken for everyone. Online applications is the norm at this point, and you'd have to have a really solid position to challenge the company in court. Maybe if you were blind and their online application was a non-standards compliant web page...

Even then, do you really want to work for a company that you had to sue to get a job? Do you think they really want you on staff if they are forced to hire you on due to a lawsuit?

And what the hell are you talking about it being hard to find a job? The nation wide unemployment rate is around 5%, there are a LOT of jobs out there. Likely even jobs that you are qualified for. But YOU have to find them.

-Rick

Bureau of Labor Statistics == BuLlSh** (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168219)

The nation wide unemployment rate is around 5%

I've read in many places that the nationwide unemployment rate issued by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics counts only people who are drawing unemployment insurance, which is not available to recent graduates and which expires after several months whether or not one's best job searching efforts result in a job offer. It also does not count situations of underemployment, such as an IT professional working at Kroger because local companies' IT departments are fully staffed.

Re:Being a moron is not a disability... (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168274)

I agree that this doesn't sound much like discrimination, unless as others have pointed out, the boss gives out paper apps to those he "likes" when the electronic terminal fails.

However, I don't agree that you should just go away if you are discriminated against. Discrimination should be vigorously opposed. In the case of discriminatory hiring, sue (or do whatever it takes) to punish the person or company who's discriminating. You're not required to accept the job afterwards, but this is still not a pointless exercise. This is the only way these laws can be enforced. It may not help you with this employer, but it will help the next person who comes along.

I'm modding every comment here Troll. (1)

Avillia (871800) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168101)

This is not about the guy not knowing how the fark to work a computer, the issue is the employer refuses to provide him with a paper application, showing him to a computer to apply. A computer with a application application refusing to complete the application that the application was designed to submit to human resources in lieu of a paper application... Jeezus.

Re:I'm modding every comment here Troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168364)

This is not about the guy not knowing how the fark to work a computer, the issue is the employer refuses to provide him with a paper application, showing him to a computer to apply. A computer with a application application refusing to complete the application that the application was designed to submit to human resources in lieu of a paper application...


Fine, but this shouldn't be blown up to an "Violation of Equal Opportunity laws", this IMHO is merely "Stupid Managers and HR Procedures". Calling this a violation of EO laws cheapens it for all the true equal opportunity violations that do occur. Additionally, posts that berate the submitter on wanting to sue the company just so he can work there are spot on -- why in the hell would the guy want to work somewhere where he had to SUE to get hired?

re kroger (1)

JohnVanVliet (945577) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168102)

i wsed to work for them and boy are they cheep most likly it is for coust cutting have a person in india work on it than having the store mgr. do it

Perfectly equal discrimination (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168105)

Don't see how this is an EOE issue if the machine equally refuse to allow anyone to apply.

Be fun to see this policy streched over several years, At the end the manager would be the only one there. :)

Seriously though, if you really want to apply, find the corprate number and inform them of what happened. You should get a good sense of whether you want to work there or not, depending on how they respond.

free advice (1)

Higman (83293) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168111)

"Are there legal concerns that I should be looking at, here?"

I would think the goal here is to not annoy your potential employer.

I highly recommend NOT sueing potential employers; they don't like it.

Perhaps the real problem was..... (2, Funny)

Sergeant Beavis (558225) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168112)

the dreaded ID10T error [/obvious]

throw us employers a bone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168129)

As an employer I really like the electronic filing approach. In addition to making sure that the applicant can at least read English (and isn't taking the application to someone who can read and write for assistance, as sad but needed test in the United States these days even for high school grads), we have the added benefit of remtely enabling the "form can be completed" feature if we like the applicant, or turning on the "form locks up at page two" feature and the applicant that we don't want thinks that the system is just buggy. We get to show fair hiring partices anong all applicants that do apply, and don't have to count those who can't get past the system.

Erm, no. (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168135)

Go to your public library, fill out the application.

Public libraries have computers for public use for just this reason [and to allow children from lower income families to print out reports that are required to be typed...].

Now, if we could just force more companies to get rid of horrible antiquated application forms which completely duplicate the information presented on every single resume...

No laws to protect the stupid (2, Interesting)

booch (4157) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168142)

Do you really think the broken computer is giving someone else an unfair advantage?

It would seem that an online application would be preferable in terms of equal opportunity. The person reading the application wouldn't be able to easily determine your race from the electronic forms. And it could hide your name and other identifying information from the manager until he/she decided to interview you. I would also suspect that it would be easier to gather metrics using a digital medium, to ensure fairness.

To answer your question more directly, I don't think there's anything illegal or unethical about their system, unless they're using it as a filter to only allow "acceptable" people to apply. (Which may very well be the case.) But EOE disclaimers only list things like race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexual preference, and disability. I don't think we'd want them to go further into things such as intelligence, people skills, personal hygiene -- things that might actually effect performance and teamwork.

I also fail to understand why you'd ask for legal advice from a bunch of geeks. And why you read Slashdot, yet claim to be technically dis-inclined.

Getting a job is harder (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168143)

I have the same problem -- show up at an employers website, fill out hundreds of little checkboxes or dropdowns, only to never ever hear from that company. Did they receive your application? Did anyone read it? Were you even considered for the position in the first place? Sometimes you can't even call the company directly. I don't bother with those forms anymore. If my application isn't going to be read, why waste the time filling it out?

Re:Getting a job is harder (1)

01101101 (869973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168284)

That is an interesting ponderance. If it crashed or was malfunctioning and lost applicants, how would anyone know? What if it was dropping certain fields that you entered, how would they know that you have a degree but the application didn't handle it properly because of a special character or something.

I've actually never used one of these. Does anyone know if any of these give you some sort of confirmation number so you could at least call in a few days later and verify that they have your information?

The online (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168154)

Usually these places have an application you can fill out at home, online if you have a computer which I'm assuming you do as you're reading this. Even if you don't, there are public computers.

Back in the day I applied for a company on the kiosk and of course it crashed near the end. Not to mention you have to use their retarded key pad, etc.

I asked the manager and he pointed me to the online version.

Check the companies Website. You'll probably see a version online.

Perfect plan... (1)

malraid (592373) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168165)

1 - Request job at company X
2 - Sue company X
3 - Get hired by company X

How the hell does this get through the editors?

I think you mean... (1)

Gruneun (261463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168329)

1 - Request job at company X
2 - Sue company X
3 - Settle with company X for far more than you ever would have made bagging groceries

Pathetic.

-1, Whiny Troll (2, Funny)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168181)

So their computer was broken. How is that different than you trying to apply, and finding out that "oh, the manager isn't here right now" or "gee, I can't find any blank applications" ? Companies do stupid things, they have bad processes, they run out of stuff.

Think of it this way, everyone who tried to apply that day was fucked, so there's no discrimination.

Feasibility of discrimination.... (1)

VoiceOvGod (954730) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168213)

The only way I could see being successful in this is if you are Amish and do not believe in using modern technology. However, if that is the case, why are you on /.? No offense to any other Amish people who are reading this.

Probably not a legal problem (2, Insightful)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168216)

If their system worked for some people and not others, you might stand a chance legally. If there was a reasonably obvious system to who it worked for and who it didn't, you'd probably stand a pretty good chance legally. As-is, however, it apparently just doesn't work for anybody -- and as long as it fails equally for everybody, chances are they're perfectly fine legally.

My guess is that the manager in question simply isn't very woried about hiring anybody right now. If he was working 60+ hours a week to cover for a short staff, you can bet he'd make sure your application was accepted electronically, on paper, or in just about any other form short of scratched onto the wall of a cave...

Of course, the obligatory disclaimer: IANAL, etc., so take it for what it's worth...

forget the legal BS, some companies are losing out (1)

CrazyMik (842019) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168231)

I recently spend more than 4 hours completing and then recompletitng an online job form because the employeers web page kept losing my information. Now, the questions is, did they really get my info?

So, how many employeers out there are missing out on good employees because of faulty online forms and poor programming?

I think there might be many bad ones out there, because this is not the first time I have had problem with online employment systems.

Jobs hard to find? Since When? (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168232)


Criminy, every time I look at the computer it's "steve Jobs this, Steve Jobs that". Newspaper and TV too...

Good luck (2, Insightful)

dedazo (737510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168234)

I'd like to see your claim that it's illegal of them to force you to use a computer stand in a court of law. First of all, the application must be designed so that it requires an IQ of 33 to operate (after all, you're applying for a shelf stocking job, right?). Second, you fscking obviously know how to use a computer, since you have a GMail address and submitted your whine to Slashdork. Third, if the machine is not working (and it's not disabled, as you said it can't get past page two) then that's tough cookies for Kroger, since neither you nor anyone else is gaining employment there at the moment. Correct?

Unless you believe you are being discriminated against based on some other factor, like the color of your skin or the fact that you have tatoos over 95% of your body or happen to weigh 400 pounds. In that case (well, in the first one at least) you may have a case. But then if that is indeed the problem you should have specified it to begin with instead of doing the "I'm being opressed because I have to use a mouse" routine.

In any event, believe it or not the effin' job market is pretty darn good right now, so if you have some sort of technical skills (and again, you identified the box as a "Genesis terminal" and seem to be posting to Slashdork so I assume that's the case) I'd suggest you look for something more along those lines.

I hate online applications (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168235)

I always get the same feeling that I would get if asked to leave my printed resume on the doorstep after hours.

Really, all I'm asking for is an email confirmation back, showing that they got it. As for them purposefully "misplacing" the submission, that can happen in any circumstance, online app or not.

Don't they HAVE to provide an application? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168247)

Once upon a time (seems like such a short time ago)when I was in high school and working at Kroger's as a supervisor, I seem to recall a store manager telling me that the law required that I provide someone a job application form if they asked for one, even if we weren't hiring.

I also seem to remember some angry customer yelling at a manager and being asked to leave the store at which point they, out of spite, asked for a job application, knowing that we had to provide one...

Khyber I'll give you a job.. (2, Funny)

tornsaq (961735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168250)

It may involve some crude sexual acts. However, you don't need to know how to work a computer, and it pays twice as much!

Cost (2, Informative)

rossz (67331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168255)

I work for a company that does online and automated telephone hiring, so I have a small bit of experience in this area.

Hiring costs are a big deal, especially for large companies. A crapload of stuff can be automated. For example, if there's a minimum age requirement, the application software can automatically ignore all the 17 year olds who applied for a bartending job instead of having some HR person manually go through a stack of applications to sort out the idiots who applied even though they couldn't legally qualify. Trimming down the applicants to those who meet the minimum job requirements can save lots of time and money.

It's also easier to re-evaluate previous applicants when there are new job openings. Just because someone hired for one job doesn't mean you want to ignore them for future jobs. An automated system makes this possible. Paper applications are too much of a pain to review months later.

Data retention is another big deal. I know in California you are required to retain applications for one year (might be a Federal law, not sure). It's a damn sight easier to keep the data in electronic form rather instead of a big ass filing cabinet filled with thousands of applications you will never look at (nothing says you have to look at the applications, just retain them).

This is not how you get a job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15168262)

Real good jobs, you can online and use the thing called email. Its very easy.. you just put your resume on your website, make sure Google spiders it and look in your inbox for job offers. If that doesn't work, then try applying to a McDonald's....

You might have a case... (2, Insightful)

Tenareth (17013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168307)

If the first page asked your race, and if you picked Black, Indian, or Chinese the next page gave an error, but if you picked Caucasian or Latino it worked fine.

Otherwise... it isn't discrimination, they just have a broken Kiosk.

fix the computer (1)

zyte (896988) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168319)

fix the computer then fill out the application, I garuntee you get the job. People who will do what's needed without having to be told to are more valuable to employers.

Your opportunity (2, Informative)

whargoul (932206) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168348)

I don't see any problems here. Your opportunity is as equal as the next guy who tries to use that broken down machine. Besides, I believe EOE is in regards to race, religion, sex, etc... How the perspective employer receives your application is up to them.

Why use a computer (1)

Jon Luckey (7563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15168350)

Many people on unemployment have to meet a quota of job applications in order to qualify for compensation. This leads many people to apply for jobs without real interest in these jobs.

Other times there are many more applicants than would be expected for jobs. Factors like these lead to having very many applications for a limited number of jobs.

Even if the company's investment in human time was just a few minutes per applicant, it is a significant manount of time in total.

Rather than spead a human's time on the large ammount applications, many places use a computer to collect the applications.

Rather like going through a phone tree before you get to talk to a human calling some places on the phone, the machine takes the initial brunt, hoping to reduce the load on the humans behind the robo-wall.
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