Is it discriminatory for a company to reject employment based on whether my spouce remains in the US and I work Overseas?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it discriminatory for a company to reject employment based on whether my spouce remains in the US and I work Overseas?

I was recently rejected for a job that I was fully capable of based on the fact that I would be working in Dubai, but my wife would remain in the US. The company said that I would not be committed to the work.

Here is the text of the rejection captured via Skype messaging
‘ Miles – I’m a little surprised you haven’t heard from 6, so I will apologise on their, and our behalf. We still haven’t filled this role but we decided that your personal circumstances were such that there was a risk you would not be committed enough. If we have people in a region then I’m afraid I want them fully committed and having a wife 10 time zones and several continents away is not a workable long term solution for us. I wish you all the best in your ongoing search.’


Asked on November 10, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

An employer can refuse to hire or employ you for any reason not specifically prohibited by law (for example, you can't be not hired due to your race or religion). There is no federal or Colorado law preventing an employer from refusing to hire you because they are concerned about you being apart from your spouse; therefore, it was legal (and so not illegal discrimination) to refuse to hire you for this reason.

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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