Is it legal to require a job applicant to purchase a service as part of the application process.

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Is it legal to require a job applicant to purchase a service as part of the application process.

I am a contractor and there are companies that now REQUIRE that I pay 100’s of dollars to a specific 3rd party service in order to apply for a contract opportunity.

One I pay for the service I am able to complete a my company profile, upload insurance certificates, Procedure manuals. Etc…

Is this legal to require use of a paid service to even be considered?

Asked on November 22, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Alaska

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Are all applicants required to purchase these services? In other words, for example, are only woman, or hispanics or the disabled required to buy them? If not, then there is no legally actionable discrimination at play in this action. Further, absent a union agreement to the contrary, most employmennt is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Accordingly, while ethically questionable, this company has broken no law in this hiring practice.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is legal to require job candates to work through a service, even if the candidate has to pay, to apply for a job, and it is not in and of itself discriminatory. You have to remember: there is no fundamental right to a job, so generally, almost any hiring practice which does not by its nature discriminate against certain protected categories, like women or minorities, is legal--but there is nothing discriminatory about making women or minorities pay a service the same way men or caucasions would. 
If the service is fraud--they don't actually give you a real shot at a job, but just take your money--that is a different story: fraudulent services are something you can sue over or file a police report about.


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