Is it discrimination if your boss says your too short to drive the company truck so you can not come back to work next summer?

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Is it discrimination if your boss says your too short to drive the company truck so you can not come back to work next summer?

Summer student working for parents’ company. At end of summer in exit review was advised by the boss that I did a good job but because I could not drive the truck which has a broken seat and will not adjust forward, that she is recommending I not come back next summer. She said it did not have anything to do with my work only the fact that I could not drive the truck.

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No, it's not illegal discrimination, giving rise to a cause of action:

1) Height is not a protected category (the main categories are race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability), and companies may take into account--i.e. "discriminate" legally--on any basis except the specifically protected categories. This is THE big stumbling block--you're not protected on the basis of your height.

2) Even in regards to the protected categories, a company take into account job needs: e.g. a woman wouldn't be hired as a mens room attendent in a hotel. If there is a legitimate issue about your ability to do the job (drive) on account of height, then even if height were protected, that might be enough to allow them to not rehire you.


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