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Job discrimination

Old 09-13-09, 07:59 PM
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cybersynaptics
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Job discrimination

I don't know if this has been addressed before because when I searched, the internal search engine told be discrimination was to big a word to include, that actually made me smile.
I'm trying to find another job, I ride a bicycle, it's my chosen mode of transportation. In the past 18 months I have rode just over 15,000 miles and have never been late for work in over 20 years but when I apply for a job I'm treated like some kind of alien or something and a good number of the jobs I seek won't even consider me unless I have a drivers license/reliable transportation which has nothing to do with the requirements of the job as there is no driving involved for the work to be done. Rain or shine I have always made it to work on time. Have any of you ever experienced this behavior before from potential employers?

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Old 09-13-09, 08:17 PM
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I've been bike commuting for decades now. I've never had a problem since I was a teen.

What I don't understand is how does the subject come up. If you have a strong work history, it shouldn't even be a question. And I've always considered my bike "reliable transportation". I even make it in to work on snowy days when the drivers don't. How are employers bringing this up? Or do you? And as long as you have the proper IDs to prove that you have the right to work in this country, lack of a driver's license shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:19 PM
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Q: Do you have a drivers license/reliable transportation
A: Yes

Case closed. Nothing else is none of their concern. Don't even bring the subject up. Just ride your bike to work.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:22 PM
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I have had the same job for the last 12 years. The past 6 or 7 I have been commuting by bicycle to work more than half the year. Every morning as I am locking up my bike out back my boss comes out to have a cigarette and gives me a hard time. He is always making comments about giving me gas money, taking up a collection for me or just how I should be driving my car. He hasn't gone as far as telling me I can't park it where I do, or trying to get me in trouble in any way, but it does get pretty annoying with all the comments and criticism.

I did get a part time job a couple of years ago when we needed money for medical bills for my son, and the first place I went to I was carrying my helmet when I went in for an interview and the guy was concerned about the fact that I rode my bike there. As soon as he said that I said thank you for your time and got up and left. I ended up finding something else, but I am not going to work in another place that frowns upon it like my regular job.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by cybersynaptics View Post
I don't know if this has been addressed before because when I searched, the internal search engine told be discrimination was to big a word to include, that actually made me smile.
I'm trying to find another job, I ride a bicycle, it's my chosen mode of transportation. In the past 18 months I have rode just over 15,000 miles and have never been late for work in over 20 years but when I apply for a job I'm treated like some kind of alien or something and a good number of the jobs I seek won't even consider me unless I have a drivers license/reliable transportation which has nothing to do with the requirements of the job as there is no driving involved for the work to be done. Rain or shine I have always made it to work on time. Have any of you ever experienced this behavior before from potential employers?
I haven't ridden to n' from work.

But the fact that you do, says to me, you are my kind of biker!!!

That is terrific dedication to two wheels and, no OPEC-powered transportation.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by funbob View Post
Q: Do you have a drivers license/reliable transportation
A: Yes

Case closed. Nothing else is none of their concern. Don't even bring the subject up. Just ride your bike to work.
That. Why does the subject need to come up? I've never had an employer ask me how I was going to get to work.

If, however, you bring it up and they decide not to hire you because of it, you're just plain out of luck.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:40 PM
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What jobs are you applying for that ask this question specifically? I haven't been asked it in a while... and I'm all of 26. Definitely don't offer it up. Just make it clear, if they ask, that you can get to work on time, every time.
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Old 09-13-09, 09:44 PM
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Did you arrive all sweaty with helmet hair?
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Old 09-13-09, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
That. Why does the subject need to come up? I've never had an employer ask me how I was going to get to work.

If, however, you bring it up and they decide not to hire you because of it, you're just plain out of luck.
When I was in retail and customer service years ago, it was a common question.
 
Old 09-13-09, 10:02 PM
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Many jobs may require some driving of company vehicles and may require a Dept. of Motor Vehicles records for any accidents or moving violations.

If someone asks about reliable transportation to work, tell them what they want to hear then after getting the job, bike to work.
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Old 09-13-09, 10:29 PM
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It is common in Los Angeles to ask where someone lives. If two (or more) candidates are neck and neck, often small things like who lives closer will be the deciding factor. I'm disheartened to hear that some employers may be considering mode of transportation in addition to location. In the current economy this shouldn't really be a surprise though...there are more qualified candidates than there are positions in most industries, so seemingly banal, inconsequential, or unfair assessments frequently come into play.

On the other hand, there might be some positions where riding your bike to work could make you seem like a better "fit" for that particular job - best wishes on running across one of those employers!
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Old 09-13-09, 11:10 PM
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I think the important thing is to make it a non-issue for your employer. There have been plenty of places where I've worked that for months had no idea I rode a bike to work. If they don't know, it can't be an issue. Plus after you've proven yourself to your employer for a bit most are more than happy to make some accommodations.
And I can see where an employer is coming from with this being an issue. I've seen newbies arrive on time but are sweated out like they've completed a century and really don't pull themselves together until a half hour into their shift.
If you need to lie tell them you'll be taking the early bus, and then arrange with the parking garage or maintenance folks of the building for locking up, and finally see if the your building has an out of the way bathroom where you can change and compose yourself with some privacy. Everyone's right that how you get to work is not your employer's business, so make sure it isn't.
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Old 09-13-09, 11:31 PM
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If you have a drivers license then there should never be opportunity for an issue. As a fit cyclist you have a reliable vehicle to get to work and you are licensed to use a motor vehicle. If they ask you how you're going to get to work or if you have a car then just say you have a vehicle; They will not ask the make or model or whether it is a motorcycle, a truck, a car, or a bicycle and if they do then simply say that the make and model of your vehicle is not pertinent to your application.

If you don't have a drivers license then get one. Unfortunately as an American it is unlikely that you will never have to use a motor vehicle in your entire life unless you live in a place like NYC where the point is moot because employers don't care if you don't have a car, but hopefully the example you set will help change this for the next generation.

Last edited by chucky; 09-13-09 at 11:35 PM.
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Old 09-14-09, 12:08 AM
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It appears in the want ad first, it appears on the application forms when I fill them out and I often get asked. I don't have a license, I've been cycling since 1978 and somewhere around 1992 I never bothered renewing my license because I was fairly tired of cars, the unnecessary expense and the crap they spewed out.
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Old 09-14-09, 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cybersynaptics View Post
It appears in the want ad first, it appears on the application forms when I fill them out and I often get asked. I don't have a license, I've been cycling since 1978 and somewhere around 1992 I never bothered renewing my license because I was fairly tired of cars, the unnecessary expense and the crap they spewed out.
So renew the license. Even if you go years at a time without getting behind the wheel of a car, there's no harm in being licensed to drive one. If you have a license number to write on job applications, prospective employers will stop pestering you about it. Granted, it really is none of their damned business, but the license also makes you more versatile, in case you encounter an unexpected situation where driving would actually be useful. Hey, it could happen...
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Old 09-14-09, 05:13 AM
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I have run into a few cyclists that can not renew their CA DL due to not paying traffic citations or DUI.
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Old 09-14-09, 05:35 AM
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Not having a license is a job limiting factor, and some employers will see it that way. Dunno what you do, but I know although I come to the office every day on a bike, should I need to travel on business I may need to rent a car. Now I'll grant you there are a lot of people out there that shouldn't have a license, but your case it sounds like not having one is an issue. So go get one. It doesn't make you any les of a cyclist because you have a license!!

And you'll never prove discrimination, so don't bother. There will just be some other reason that they didn't hire you if called on it.
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Old 09-14-09, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
When I was in retail and customer service years ago, it was a common question.
"Do you have a reliable form of transportation" is common IME. What that form of transportation is, is not.
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Old 09-14-09, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by sanitycheck View Post
So renew the license. Even if you go years at a time without getting behind the wheel of a car, there's no harm in being licensed to drive one. If you have a license number to write on job applications, prospective employers will stop pestering you about it. Granted, it really is none of their damned business, but the license also makes you more versatile, in case you encounter an unexpected situation where driving would actually be useful. Hey, it could happen...
If he have up the license in 1992, there's no renewal. That was 16 years ago. He most likely has to go through the whole process all over again to get one - including whatever "drivers school" is required in his state.
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Old 09-14-09, 06:10 AM
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If the job is requiring you to have a valid drivers license I don't see the problem unless they are asking if you drive (having a drivers license does not necessarily mean you have to drive). Perhaps they are verifying ID and not actually expecting you to drive. I've been in cases where I thought I didn't have to drive for the job. However there were times I would take the managers car to drop something or pick something up from another store. It wasn't part of my job, but they knew I was a "team player".
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Old 09-14-09, 06:55 AM
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There were a couple jobs I would have had if I had only owned a car, but it wasn't discrimination...it was that I needed to be able to drive clients (kids, and people with severe mental illness) around to places and they couldn't afford company cars for everyone to use.
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Old 09-14-09, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by funbob View Post
Q: Do you have a drivers license/reliable transportation
A: Yes

Case closed. Nothing else is none of their concern. Don't even bring the subject up. Just ride your bike to work.
+100!

I am an employer, and I learned a long time ago that I am not permitted to ask a potential employee how they will get to work. I am only allowed to ask if they have reliable transportation. If a potential employee then elaborates on that and tells me they take the bus, I'm probably not supposed to consider that... but everything you say colors the employer's opinion.

I would definitely suggest saying "yes" to the question, and not elaborating at all. Unless you say something like "Yes, I've never been late in xx years."

Get a drivers license even if you don't plan on driving. It's worth the hassle, and will probably improve your employment prospects. Because giving them a state issued non-driver photo ID is the same thing as saying "I am a cyclist" or "I take the bus".
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Old 09-14-09, 07:25 AM
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A bicycle is more reliable than a car.

Assuming that you live in an "at-will" employment state, there's no legal reason why they can't discriminate against you for riding a bike. They can discriminate against you for any non-federally-protected reason. If they don't like the sports team you root for, they can fire you for that. Really the only reason they need to even SAY why they fired you is to give a reason that's not a protected group.

So I'd try to avoid having it come up personally. Sure, it's none of their business, but it'd be nice if you had at least a few weeks of showing up on time under your belt before they even realized it.
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Old 09-14-09, 07:34 AM
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Besides the 'reliable transportation' aspect, people are looking for employees that will be 'easily managed'. They have to think they understand the prospective employee.

In most of the country, transportational cyclists are considered at least a little odd, and are therefore less desirable to hire than a solid middle of the roader.
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Old 09-14-09, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by cybersynaptics View Post
... Have any of you ever experienced this behavior before from potential employers?
When I started my current position in a Boston suburb about 27 years ago, I was not asked, but did offer the information that I routinely would commute by bike, or by commuter rail, and they looked askance, but I got the job. I do have to be absolutely on time, as well as on-call, for some critical duties. I live 14 miles from work, in downtown Boston, and will with reluctance rent a car, or even take a rare taxi. For about 15 years or so I did have the recurring dream (nightmare) of having to get there while on my bike and being far away--not unlike the dream of going for an exam and never gone to the class.

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
A bicycle is more reliable than a car...
10+ for that. In weather extremes, I'm more certain of coming in on time, even early, on the bike or the train, than my colleagues who live closer but drive. Mechanical problems, flat tires, etc. can be a disaster in a car, but usually easily remedied on a bike. Once my pedal broke off, and within about a half an hour the bike and I were in a cab on the way to work.
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