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What if client makes a discriminatory request?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Q. We offer home health care services. Sometimes clients request a certain caregiver in respect to color, age, gender, etc. Is it legal to place an ad with a specific request from our client, such as “seeking Caucasian female between ages 40-50 to help care for adult female”? — Carol, Minnesota

A. No. Advertising for workers who are a particular race, age, or gender would be indicative of discrimination, as are your customers’ requests. You cannot fulfill a client’s request for an employee of a certain race, age or gender without putting yourselves at risk of a claim for employment discrimination by those who are not hired.

It’s difficult when you are asked to fulfill a specific request, but your role is to provide qualified home care workers, not qualified home care workers of a certain gender, race or age. It’s difficult to explain to customers that you can’t fulfill a particular request, but it may be necessary. Consult with your licensing entity for some sample responses to customers who may not understand.

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