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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:22 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Ontario
This week my 15 1/2 yr old daughter went for her first part-time job interview as a hostess at a local chain restaurant. During her brief interview she was asked is she had any food allergies. She replied "yes I do". We did not have this on her resume or her application. The interviewer then asked her what was she allergic too. She identified her allergens peanuts and nuts. She quickly asked "does this matter", he told her "no we just need to be aware of it". We (my husband and I) are wondering if this is a legal or appropriate question that they can ask. They dont ask if you have diabetes or Chron's etc. He asked if she would be able to clear tables and she replied that wouldnt be a problem at all. At the end of the interview he told her that it wouldnt be for another week before they decided and if she didnt get a call to call them back. So we are not sure if this will affect her getting the position or not.

After hearing this from our daughter we contacted another family member of ours who works in another city and is management in the restaurant and food industry. He tells us yes this is infact discrimination however they are allowed to discriminate if it is food allergy related because discrimination only applies to race, gender, creed etc. We are very taken back by this and would love to hear from others more knowledgable in this area. Does this mean that all the jobs that our daughter is old enough for she will be denied because of a medical condition? Doesn't seem right
Heartbroken </3

people are responding in terms of my daughter but the question remains are employers legally allowed to ask anyone about having food allergies as part of the interview process?


Last edited by awesomepeanutkidsmom on Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Interesting thread! Say your daughter doesn't get the job: It would be very difficult to determine (prove) is if her allergies were a factor in not being hired or if other applicants were in fact more qualified. Say two applicants were equally qualified and one had food allergies which would be hired??
Did they ask if she had food allergies first off or did they ask initially if she had any health issues and then food allergies arose from that discussion? A person could be diabetic or have seizures, both of which could result in medical emergencies without any warning, do they screen for that also :verymad .
Working in a restaurant increases the odds of a reaction BUT trace as we all know is everywhere and any job could potentially lead to an accidental reaction.

I wish her luck, she sounds like a responsible determined young lady. If this company doesn't hire her I'm sure that will be to the benefit of another company who will be fortunate enough to hire her. :huggy Wait the week out and see what happens.
Or ... if your daughter is very worried I'd just go talk to the manager. Normally I don't think parents should interfere but in this case being that it is a medical concern they have brought into question and due to the fact your DD is only 15 I'd go and see them in person. Just be calm and matter of fact, mention that your daughter told you her allergies were brought up and ask him if he/she has any questions regarding your DD's allergies. Say you are aware his/her decision isn't being made for another week but you wanted to touch base first and address any allergy concerns before hiring decisions were made.
Good luck.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
It is possible they don't want anyone with fa's working there...but it is also possible they wanted to know if it she had food allergies that would be an issue.

As an example, if she said she could not clean tables due to risk, that would be an issue.

I had previously applied to work at a job that involved working with food. We did discuss specifics of what would and would not be an issue. I said I would be willing to wear non-latex gloves, which I was willing to provide myself, and that would eliminate all risk to me. The interviewer said they provided them to all employees, so that wasn't a problem.

I did not get the job, but I don't think my allergies had anything to do with it. They wanted someone available longer hours then I wanted to work.

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:31 pm 
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Location: ottawa
Awesomepeanut, on a side note, you have obviously done a great job at instilling/teaching your DD confidence with regards to her allergies. I think I'd be inclined to put a lock on DS's 'bubble' :lol: if he decided to work in a food setting. Of course if that is what he chose to do I'd support him, but after all the avoiding food I think I'd be prone to discourage it.
I think it is wonderful that your daughter is confident enough (and clearly has very little anxiety related to food)
to wish to work in a restaurant.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Sometimes, being in an environment where allergens are being cooked can be an issue. Handling said allergens---not a good idea for many either. So, yeah, I can see how allergies can be problematic in a job in the restaurant industry. Of course it depends on the individual, level of reactivity, comfort level, etc.

That said, questions about health issues and accommodation should be addressed AFTER the hiring decision is made. Asking questions beforehand like that is discriminatory (and possibly illegal)...because anything an employer asks in a job interview obviously has an impact on the hiring decision or else he/she wouldn't ask the question.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Location: Toronto
BC2007 wrote:
I think I'd be inclined to put a lock on DS's 'bubble' :lol: if he decided to work in a food setting.

:rofl :rofl

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self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 10:46 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Alberta
awesomepeanutkidsmom wrote:
the question remains are employers legally allowed to ask anyone about having food allergies as part of the interview process?


:scratchy Don't you wish someone on this forum was a lawyer with a child with allergy issues? Not that I would wish this on anyone.

Remember when Harper first got elected in and some in the media were kind of making fun of him - going to the hospital with his asthmatic condition?? We've never heard of that again. I guess he's doing fine.

Michele

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Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:23 pm 
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Location: Toronto
If an employer hires a minor how responsible are they for the safety of that employee? To a degree an employer is always responsible for employee safety, but in this specific instance, if the child says their allergies would not be an issue, they get the job, then suffers a serious reaction, is the employer responsible for that?

I would think the employer has a right to ask if there is any reason the person would not be able to do the entire job. so if someone is not going to be willing/able to clean tables where a particular food was served the employer has the right to know that and to not hire that person, even if it is due to a health reason.

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:37 am
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Location: Alberta
As an employer, I would hope and tend to believe you are right, AnnaMarie.


Michele

_________________
Myself - Seasonal, cats
dd-asthma (trigger - flu) anaphylactic to eggs, severe allergies to bugspray and penicilin,pulmicort
ds-Seasonal, cats and OAS
dh-allergy cats, bugspray and guava, outgrew egg allergy


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:23 am 
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Joined: Sun May 25, 2008 4:27 pm
Posts: 300
Location: Montreal
I agree with AnnaMarie in relation to the employer.
Actually, in my summer job searches throughout the years there were a couple of times when I applied and was interview for restaurant jobs and one or two of them asked me if I had food allergies. The way they asked, it seemed like they were genuinely concerned that I not be in danger during a shift. One of them did offer me the job and said that he asked because he is one of the trained first responders on the staff and he needs to know. He also said that he wanted to know what the allergies were so that I wouldn't have to touch them. Great place, but seeing the bowls of peanuts in their sports bar scared me enough to turn the job down!!
So I don't think it's necessarily discrimination. Remember, discrimination has to be when you are treated unfairly because of a specific trait that has nothing to do with how you will perform a job (i.e. skin colour, religion, sexual orientation). Since we don't know if they are going to hire her or not yet (and whether that decision will be based on the fact that she has food allergies), I'd wait and see. If they don't hire her and it bothers her or you, then find out from the manager why they decided to go with someone else.

_________________
Associate Editor at Allergic Living.
Allergies to all nuts and legumes except soy and green beans.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Location: Canada
AnnaMarie wrote:
If an employer hires a minor how responsible are they for the safety of that employee? To a degree an employer is always responsible for employee safety, but in this specific instance, if the child says their allergies would not be an issue, they get the job, then suffers a serious reaction, is the employer responsible for that?

I would think the employer has a right to ask if there is any reason the person would not be able to do the entire job. so if someone is not going to be willing/able to clean tables where a particular food was served the employer has the right to know that and to not hire that person, even if it is due to a health reason.


good question. The following is just my personal opinion and has no grounding in legal knowledge :) The employer is responsible for providing "reasonable accommodation." If a person is hired...then reveals allergies that cannot be accommodated...then the employer would have the right to let that person go. IF the person is hired and has a reaction because the employer did not attempt to provide a safe work environment then the employer could be in trouble. I don't see how an employer would be liable if the accommodation required doesn't fall under the category of "reasonable accommodation." I also would expect that the employer would not be liable if he/she accommodated the employee but a reaction happened regardless.

Bottom line: I don't think the employer is qualified to determine how an individual's medical condition would impact her work. These issues are complicated and unless the interviewee feels differently should be dealt with *after* the hiring process.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 2:05 pm 
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Location: Toronto
I've just seen so many wrongful dismissal lawsuits recently. This is not directed at the OP, I don't know your child or her reactions or specifically where she applied, but using myself as an example, if I applied at McD's I would end up having a reaction. It is not reasonable to expect an restaurant to eliminate an employees allergen, and IMO if I have a reaction, it would not be the employers fault. He would have taken my word for whether or not it was safe.

but when it comes to a minor, can an employer reasonably take the minor's word for it re reaction history?

_________________
self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
this page has relevant info.:

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/publications/sc ... ent-en.asp

IMO, the interviewer is on shaky legal ground.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 5:22 pm
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Location: Ontario
Helen wrote:
this page has relevant info.:

http://www.chrc-ccdp.ca/publications/sc ... ent-en.asp

IMO, the interviewer is on shaky legal ground.


Thank you, very Interesting
Awesomepeanutkidsmom!


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