Some forms of `discrimination' are legal, such as where you live

CAN THEY DO THAT?

November 23, 2005|By CARRIE MASON-DRAFFEN | CARRIE MASON-DRAFFEN,NEWSDAY

I'm an outside sales rep. When looking for a new job I came across this: "Must reside within the territory you are applying for." Some ads go as far as to say, "Others will not be considered." Is this discriminatory? I wanted to apply for a job outside of my area but am restricted because of some companies' policies. I understand that companies don't want huge mileage bills, but do they go too far?

Discrimination is a separate issue and unrelated here.

Illegal discrimination in employment involves the categories of race, gender, age, nationality, religion, disability, pregnancy, and in some places marital status and sexual orientation, said employment lawyer Alan Sklover of Sklover & Associates in New York.

Outside of those areas, employers have a lot of leeway in setting their own criteria for decisions about hiring, promoting and firing. The policies might include whether a person has certain licenses; how tall or short a person is or where a person resides.

"It is a legal, permissible basis upon which to make an employment decision, and in this way an acceptable form of `discrimination' on the job," he said.

But you don't have to stop there. Send in your resume, and a cover letter to convince your prospective company that you are eager to break sales records and assume the cost of residing outside the sales territory.

"Your enthusiasm and perseverance might just convince your prospective employer that its territorial discrimination is foolhardy," he said.

carrie.draffen@newsday.com.

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