Consent to background and drug testing on application

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Consent to background and drug testing on application

I filled out an application today for an HR generalist. At the end of the application process, it asked me for my birthday year included, driver’s license, and SSN. From there I had to consent to a background check and drug screen. Is it legal for this company to ask me for this personal information? Once I submitted the application, I already felt like I could be discriminated against, I am female and over the age of 40. There was even an option for me to download my picture, which I opted out of. Is it legal to ask for all of this personal information prior to getting an offer letter?

Asked on February 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal to ask for this information pre-offer letter, but can be risky--at least in regards to the age-related information (not the SSN or proof of a driver's license)--for the employer. The law does not prohibit getting information or asking about an employee's age: it prohibits discriminating against (e.g. not hiring) an employee age 40 or above due to his or her age. Therefore, having the information does not make them liable, only actually discriminating does. The reason it is risky for them is that if you do not get the job and they have your age, then if they cannot show some other, non-age-based reason for not hiring you (e.g. you lack certan required experience or credentials), it can appear that they did in fact discriminate due to your age.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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