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Private Lives, Public Laws

• volume 1 • number 4

The California Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of an applicant at Target Stores saying questions about his religious and sexual preferences invaded his privacy. Soroka v. Dayton Hudson will expand the right to privacy for job applicants in California.

Target asked applicants questions such as: "Do you believe there is a devil and a hell after life?" and "Are you strongly attracted to members of the opposite sex?" Since Target failed to show religious belief or sexual orientation related to the ability to perform as a security officer, use of these questions were not job-related and they violated the state constitutional right to privacy.

According to the ruling, a question asked during the job application process may not request an applicant reveal his or her sexual orientation. Effective, legal and positive interviews can be conducted without asking applicants any questions which bear on their race, sex, age, religion, national origin, color, ancestry, marital status or sexual orientation, whether job-related or not.