Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lessons from Fast Food #6: Ask the Right Questions

Recently, my manager decided to hire a young man who had interviewed with another member of our management team and seemed pretty stellar. Since I burn with curiosity about hiring, I picked up his application to review it, and was surprised to see that he had left his last two jobs due to medical issues.

So of course I went straight to the manager who'd hired him and asked "What were the medical issues he left for?"

He hadn't asked, so he didn't know.

So in the round of interviews where my manager had him and a few others she was going to hire, I attached a sticky note to his, saying "Be sure to ask about medical issues!" I know there are legal issues about asking about disabilities, but we're talking medical issues that he specifically mentioned on his application. We can totally ask about that.

He was hired, and when I met him he was very nice, and seemed quite promising. We spent about 10 hours of labor for him to do the computer based training. Then he had a four or five hour training shift on the floor.

Immediately after the lunch shift he worked, he put his name tag and visor, along with a note, on my manager's desk. It read, basically, that he did not feel he was cut out for fast food, that he couldn't keep the pace due to his medical issues (he also mentioned unresolved issues between co-workers, but I suspect that wasn't as important).

I asked my manager what his medical issues were exactly. She didn't know. Apparently she hadn't asked him, either. Sigh.

So it would seem that if he has a long term medical condition, it could be covered by the ADA, which means we couldn't ask about it directly. BUT, we have every right to ask why he left his previous jobs, and we can ask, even if he doesn't disclose exactly what the condition is, what he will be doing to ensure that he doesn't leave this job for the same reason. Right?


  1. Okay, I'm not 100% positive here, but I'm fairly sure that you actually can't ask about medical issues even though he mentioned them on his application. You can ask if there's anything that would prevent him from performing the duties of the job, but I'm almost sure that you can't say, "so what are your medical issues?" because of the ADA.

    Feel free to prove me wrong on this though! I might be off.

  2. Ooh, that sounds super frustrating! Ugh!

  3. I think you might be right. It looks like it could be covered if they are long-term. However, I will edit to cover this. Thanks!