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If someone says they will not hire you because you won't tell them you're gay or disclose your sexuality is that legal?

Escondido, CA |

I had an attorney who owns a mediation company tell me he would not hire me unless I admitted to him about being gay and discuss my sexuality. He said that he couldn't trust me as an employee if I wouldn't talk to him about it. Is this legal?

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Attorney answers 3


Only if the answer to the question pertains to a bonafide duty of the job, e.g., if you are applying to be a clergyman or work for a religious employer in a denomination that does not recognize homosexuality as a valid lifestyle. For the position you described it does not appear to be a valid bonfire condition of employment and may be unlawful discrimination against you based on a perception of your sexual orientation. It does not sound like he is declining to hire you because you are or are not gay, rather that he demands complete honesty. To really analyze this situation more details are necessary. I recommend that you consult an attorney in California that deals with sexual orientation discrimination. in your area.
Best of luck!

NO LEGAL ADVICE GIVEN. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship set forth in a written document executed by the client and by me or a member of my firm. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. My law firm does NOT provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your case. I can give advice, make recommendations and answer specific questions only after reviewing the evidence and documents applicable to a specific client and following a personal meeting in my office in which the relevant facts can be developed and analyzed. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal administrative law; professional licenses and permits; education law; employment and labor law; and litigation matters in state and federal courts. Our practice is limited to the States of Oregon and California. If you have a case in any other state we would not be able to assist you. Unless we have a signed written fee agreement you are not my or my firm's client.

Randy Jay Harvey

Randy Jay Harvey


You may also wish to call DFEH to file a complaint as soon as practical. Be aware that there are statutes of limitation which apply.


No, it is not legal.

It is illegal in California to ask questions that are not job related. Sexual orientation is not job-related. It is furthermore illegal to refuse to hire someone because that person did not want to answer a non-job related inquiry. The Fair Employment & Housing Act ("FEHA") and its regulations prohibit all of these things.

If you believe that you have been denied a job because of a non-job related inquiry, and you decide that you want to take action, make sure to do so within your statute of limitations, or your rights may be lost forever.

I hope this information is helpful to you.

Craig T. Byrnes

Disclaimer: Please be aware that I am not offering legal advice, nor forming an attorney-client relationship with you. I am not representing you, nor doing anything to protect your legal rights. If you believe that you have suffered a legal wrong, take action before any statute or limitations expires, or your right to do so may be lost forever. Good luck in your legal matter.


Think hard about the mechanics of the legal process and the fact that as complainant you will be required to prove your contentions with evidence. Then make an affirmative decision as to whether this is something that you choose to pursue.

NOTHING SAID HERE IS LEGAL ADVICE! Read this notice BEFORE you contact me! My posts on Avvo in response to the public's questions are never offered as legal advice. Do not rely on any response posted by me as applicable to your specific problem or circumstances. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions - Answers forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me or my law firm. My law firm does not provide free consultations. See for further details on that issue. Please do not call or email me with a “few questions.” I give advice, make recommendations, and answer specific questions only after reviewing the documentary record and other evidence applicable to a specific client, and only in the course of or following a conference with my client in which all of the relevant information can be identified and developed. AND I give legal advice ONLY in the course of an attorney-client relationship created and defined by a written contract for services, signed by my client and by me or a member of my firm, for which payment has been made. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; professional (State or federal licensing agency) discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic disputes involving universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We accept grievances, administrative claims, arbitrations, mediations, negotiations, and other non-litigation matters pertaining to employment, hospital and facility privileges, tenure, and contractual disputes. We conduct seminars and training in employment law for employers and union advocates, and in issues of professional/occupational licensing law for criminal defense attorneys. We accept NO contingency work, and we take no matters for which CCP discovery is applicable.

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