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  #1  
Old 10-06-10, 08:33 AM
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CVS discriminates against people with ADD



I'm trying to find a way to contact Chadd's leadership to request a national boycott of CVS. At the very least, I would like leadership to educate members on how to exercise their rights.

Recently I tried to get a job with CVS, but they would not even consider me because I refused to answer the questions on their "personality test", which is really just a screener for mental disabilities.

Here are all eight questions from the second page of this test:

You do some things that upset people
Your stuff is often kind of messy
You do not like small talk
You are somewhat of a thrill-seeker
Your friends and family approve of the things you do
Slow-moving people make you impatient
You have to give up on some things that you start
You have confidence in yourself

If you go further through this test you'll also see diagnostic criteria for depression and social anxiety.

Despite all talk to the contrary, this test is quite simply a way to weed out "unwanteds". The CVS website said something vague about how they could complete an application upon request, but I can't find any way to do that. It says if you think you've been discriminated against to contact your regional HR manager, but again, it gives you no way to do this. It's just PR fluff.

The test is called the "unicru" and it is used by a number of national chains. I think, though, that CVS is the ideal company to be made an example out of. They make a lot of money off prescriptions for the very disabilities they discriminate against. Furthermore, that business is easily withdrawn (there's plenty of pharmacies to choose from).

I have already filed discrimination charges against another company for the exact same test. The EEOC is currently investigating the matter. I am going to file charges against CVS as well.

IF YOU THINK YOU'VE BEEN DISCRIMINATED AGAINST FILE CHARGES AT EEOC.GOV!

In the meantime, CVS has permanently lost my business.

Be sure to e-mail them at customercare@cvs.com to let them know how you feel.
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Old 10-06-10, 09:39 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

This can become sort of a catch-22, as I can see arguments for the questions being relevant to bona fide occupational qualifications for the jobs...

for example, a positive answer to "Slow-moving people make you impatient" could indicate that you would have a hard time with customers who move slowly, which, as someone who visits the pharmacy counter every month, I can tell you a lot of pharmacy customers do.

So, refusing to answer the questions, if they are relevant to the job, can be reasonable grounds for declining to consider your application, but completing the questions honestly may disqualify you if you give the 'wrong' answers, even if the reasons for those answers being true is a disability....not a situation with an easy solution, unfortunately.
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  #3  
Old 10-06-10, 09:58 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

Just FYI, pretty much every major chain employer uses UNICRU tests, including Staple's, Kroger, CVS, WalMart, and others. They aren't screeners for mental health, they're screeners for what make good team players and good customer servants. And you're over the top touchy about it.

Nobody has discriminated against you, and refusing to answer a bull**** personality survey is kind of a ridiculous thing to do. The test is a test of how effectively you can blow smoke up someone's *** as much as it is a test of personality.

Edit: I have passed the UNICRU employer inventory at least 5 times, and I have ADHD. I was honest every time.

Edit 2: I work for one of those competing pharmacies, Kroger, and we use UNICRU too.

The UNICRU test is as much about telling whether or not you're able to lie to keep someone happy as it is about whether you're suitable for customer service, because probably 50% of customer service is telling the customer what they want to hear and then doing your best to make it happen. The other 50% is being a good person who genuinely wants to make people happy. The UNICRU test weeds out people who are bad at both of these things.

In short, I think you're overreacting a tad. Lighten up. Apply somewhere else and this time give them the answers they want to hear.

Fun Fact: Nobody really reads the responses on a UNICRU test. They get the answers, but those answers are categorized into three main areas, which are then graded by color, Green, Yellow, and Red. Red means "do not hire," yellow means "look closely at these answers," and green means "go ahead and hire."

Edit 3: Every time I re-read your post, it seems more and more paranoid.
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Old 10-07-10, 10:42 AM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMiller View Post
They aren't screeners for mental health, they're screeners for what make good team players and good customer servants.

The test is a test of how effectively you can blow smoke up someone's *** as much as it is a test of personality.
How do you know any of this? Do you have some sort of inside knowledge about Unicru's algorithms? Because if you did you would have had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. No one knows exactly how it is done. No one knows how Kronos designates certain people as "Red" and others as "Green".

Also, why would a test of these abilities need to include diagnostic criteria for several different mental disorders? Take a look at the MMPI and the Kiersey-Bates temperament sorter and ask yourself which one seems more like the Unicru.

Fun Fact: I filed a report with the EEOC about two months ago because I was not interviewed by a Unicru loving company for an open position that I was extremely well-qualified for. The EEOC has not been nearly as dismissive as you and the matter is still under investigation.

I am well aware that the test is used by a number of chains. It is widespread and normal. That doesn't mean it is legal or ethical. The EEOC can not enforce the laws except where people file complaints. People don't file complaints because people usually think like you do: if everyone's doing it there must be a legitimate reason.

Re-reading my own post, I can see that it does have a very paranoid, one-sided tone. I was pretty fed up when I wrote it. Nevertheless, I still think I'm right and you're wrong.

Quote:
This can become sort of a catch-22, as I can see arguments for the questions being relevant to bona fide occupational qualifications for the jobs...
Obviously, they are going to ask it in such a way that it might seem related to the job. No one has the balls to straight out ask if you're bipolar.

No, these definitely do not meet the legal definition of a BFOQ. BFOQs have to really, really, be necessary to be justified. They also have to be listed in the employment offering.

You can not have an employment screener that disproportionately affects members of a protected group, regardless of the intention. You can't disqualify people with sickle-cell anemia any more than you can disqualify people who are black.
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Old 10-07-10, 11:44 AM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

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Originally Posted by Reagan View Post
How do you know any of this? Do you have some sort of inside knowledge about Unicru's algorithms? Because if you did you would have had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. No one knows exactly how it is done. No one knows how Kronos designates certain people as "Red" and others as "Green".
UNICRU is a pretty standard test. It doesn't take much to figure out what answers you need to put down. I've worked with the test before in helping to hire people, so I'm familiar with its deep dark inner workings. I'm certain the same stuff is all over the Internet.

Quote:
Also, why would a test of these abilities need to include diagnostic criteria for several different mental disorders? Take a look at the MMPI and the Kiersey-Bates temperament sorter and ask yourself which one seems more like the Unicru.
The questions are meant to determine who is good at customer service. Depressed, sad, droopy people are not. Impulsive, angry, quick tongued people are not. Are you trying to say that an angry person who can't keep their mouth shut is going to be just as good at customer service as someone who will roll with the punches and tell the customer what they need to hear to keep the business?

Quote:
Fun Fact: I filed a report with the EEOC about two months ago because I was not interviewed by a Unicru loving company for an open position that I was extremely well-qualified for. The EEOC has not been nearly as dismissive as you and the matter is still under investigation.
Neat. I'm sorry to hear you feel you've been discriminated against due to your disability. Do keep in mind that the ADA only protects people who are able to perform the job with reasonable accommodations. From the sound of it, if you think "do you like small talk?" is a question that is specifically designed to weed people with disabilities out, you're off in cloud nine somewhere. That kind of question is there because, shock, people who work in customer service frequently have to engage in small talk, and because it indicates whether or not you're a "people person," which one needs to be.

Quote:
I am well aware that the test is used by a number of chains. It is widespread and normal. That doesn't mean it is legal or ethical. The EEOC can not enforce the laws except where people file complaints. People don't file complaints because people usually think like you do: if everyone's doing it there must be a legitimate reason.
You are implying that there is a massive conspiracy on the part of every major corporation to discriminate against people with psychiatric disabilities. I am telling you that that is a whacked out paranoid statement to make.

Quote:
Re-reading my own post, I can see that it does have a very paranoid, one-sided tone. I was pretty fed up when I wrote it. Nevertheless, I still think I'm right and you're wrong.
You also think that CVS is deliberately oppressing you because of your disability state, sooooo I really don't care too much for what you think with regards to who is right here.

Quote:
Obviously, they are going to ask it in such a way that it might seem related to the job. No one has the balls to straight out ask if you're bipolar.
IT IS RELATED TO THE JOB. Good customer servants have to have confidence in themselves, they have to be able to be patient with slow-moving people, and they have to keep things tidy in a corporate environment. These are not attacks on your person, they are questions that are very much relevant to the job.

Occam's razor suggests that we ought to take the more simple of two explanations. In this case, there are two proposed explanations: mine (that they ask questions that are relevant to the job) and yours (that there is a massive nationwide conspiracy to discriminate against you). Let's just think on that for a moment.

Quote:
No, these definitely do not meet the legal definition of a BFOQ. BFOQs have to really, really, be necessary to be justified. They also have to be listed in the employment offering.
I think you'll find that employment offerings for customer service positions all list things like "must be an outgoing person" under job qualifications.

Quote:
You can not have an employment screener that disproportionately affects members of a protected group, regardless of the intention. You can't disqualify people with sickle-cell anemia any more than you can disqualify people who are black.
And this doesn't affect either. The fact of the matter is that a person who answers wrong on those questions is not going to function well in a customer service position.

For the record, I am bipolar, and my employer (Kroger) knows it. I don't feel as if I've been treated any differently because of it.
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Old 10-07-10, 12:24 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

Quote:
Originally Posted by KMiller View Post
Are you trying to say that an angry person who can't keep their mouth shut is going to be just as good at customer service as someone who will roll with the punches and tell the customer what they need to hear to keep the business?

From the sound of it, if you think "do you like small talk?" is a question that is specifically designed to weed people with disabilities out

You are implying that there is a massive conspiracy on the part of every major corporation to discriminate against people with psychiatric disabilities.

You also think that CVS is deliberately oppressing you because of your disability state,

In this case, there are two proposed explanations: mine (that they ask questions that are relevant to the job) and yours (that there is a massive nationwide conspiracy to discriminate against you).
Okay. I'm done here. Feel free to have the last word.
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Old 10-07-10, 12:21 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

I get my prescriptions at CVS.
They are the only pharmacy that goes out of their way to get the generics that work for me.

Don't bash CVS just because you can't get a job there. That seems very shallow.
There are many other stores that use that "Personality Test".

Look at other places to get a job, maybe like a pizza place or a coffee place..etc.
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Old 10-07-10, 01:10 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

A 20 second search gave me four different sites that told me how to answer all the UNICRU questions.

Interesting...
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Old 10-07-10, 06:09 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

Yeah, I've seen those, but I don't know anyone that's used them. They might work, but I'd be wary about making an identical copy.

I'm certain that Kronos is aware that these answer keys exist. If you use one of the more popular ones, I'm certain that Kronos would recognize it and know that you cheated.

What I don't know, however, is if Kronos would consider that a bad thing. On the one hand, it shows savvy and out of the box thinking. On the other hand, it doesn't say much of anything about your personality and I don't know that computer-savvy people are really a better fit for these customer-service jobs.

There is a ton of money going into this test development and the whole process is far more sophisticated than most people think. It rates you on several different dimensions. It rates the consistency and honesty of your answers. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those answer keys were put out there by Kronos themselves.

By the way -- it would technically be a form of age discrimination to boost the scores of internet-savvy applicants, since this would tend to put older generations at a disadvantage. Another item: the reason that no one uses pre-employment aptitude tests is because no one can make an aptitude test that doesn't tend to favor certain races -- they would quickly get called up if they did. Just thought I'd throw those tidbits in since apparently most people do not understand what "discrimination" is in the broad, legal sense.
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Old 10-07-10, 06:21 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

Most jobs I have had have required personality testing such as you describe. I'm ADD and have clinical depression and managed them just fine.

They have been using these tests at least since I was in my early 20's, and I'm nearly 50 now. They're a layered test that ultimately (even though they can look like 20 to thirty questions or more) are really only about five questions, reworded. It helps them to see what your personality is like (assuming you don't get crib notes from the web...ADHDTigger)

I don't feel they are discriminatory at all.

As for your age discrimination comment, I know plenty of older workers who are quite internet and computer savvy. It's discriminatory to suggest they aren't.
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Old 10-07-10, 07:23 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

Given that the test is self-reporting, I don't think it's nearly the problem it could be. I also think that it's a bit specious to suggest that there's no discrimination against people with mental illness or neurological disabilities going on, though.

Also, questions like "do you like small talk" are a bit of a difference from "are you capable of small talk?" Or "do you get impatient with people who move slowly" and "are you able to deal with people who move slowly without losing your temper." I mean the other options are never likely to be in a test, but they'd probably be a more accurate thing to ask. But even then people will give self-evaluations that favor themselves.

I don't know, the Unicru test seems kind of problematic to me, but I don't think it by itself is a large problem as compared to, say, requiring psych evaluations to go along with drug tests (which as far as I know doesn't happen).

If you have to keep your disabilities hidden to have a chance at a job? Yes, that actually is discrimination. You're acknowledging the stigma and discrimination against people with mental disabilities right there, and the fact that you can hide it because they are invisible to most people much of the time doesn't mean that it's somehow okay.

Oh, and I don't really think this is worth a boycott. Like Keith said, lots and lots of chains use it. It's not a problem with any one corporation or chain.
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Old 10-07-10, 07:34 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

I completely cede the point about the boycott -- that was a little over the top.

I was in a weird, angry place when I wrote that first post: my car had broke down, I lacked the money to fix it, and I was generally fed up with the job-hunt. I also require an unusually heavy dose of Adderall (30 mg 2x a day) which can fuel the fire a bit.
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Old 10-07-10, 07:49 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

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I completely cede the point about the boycott -- that was a little over the top.

I was in a weird, angry place when I wrote that first post: my car had broke down, I lacked the money to fix it, and I was generally fed up with the job-hunt. I also require an unusually heavy dose of Adderall (30 mg 2x a day) which can fuel the fire a bit.
I hear that. I think I have an idea where you're coming from.

You are talking about a structural problem that does exist, although I am not even sure how to begin addressing it.
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Old 10-07-10, 08:43 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

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Obviously, they are going to ask it in such a way that it might seem related to the job. No one has the balls to straight out ask if you're bipolar.

No, these definitely do not meet the legal definition of a BFOQ. BFOQs have to really, really, be necessary to be justified. They also have to be listed in the employment offering.

You can not have an employment screener that disproportionately affects members of a protected group, regardless of the intention. You can't disqualify people with sickle-cell anemia any more than you can disqualify people who are black.
The problem with all this is that the ADA does not prohibit employers from asking questions that are job-related, which as Kmiller noted, these, for the most part, clearly are. While an employer cannot utilize a test of this nature for the purpose of weeding out people with disabilities, they generally can use tests which ask job-related questions that have the effect of disproportionately screening out people with disabilities, if they can show it is a business necessity.

You're right that bona fide occupational qualification has a fairly narrow technical meaning, but it's also not what employers are limited to inquiring into. Rather, it's an available exemption in some cases where employers seek to overtly require employees of a certain protected class, because there is a legitimate and necessary reason (bona fide occupational qualification) for doing so. For example, mandatory retirement ages, overt age discrimination, have been upheld in some cases for public safety jobs as a BFOQ.

So, while there is some variation from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, for the most part, you have half the standard down, but are omitting the crucial qualification: a test that has a negative disparate impact on persons with disabilities, can, under some circumstances, be used if the test is related to the job in question.

Tests like this one (and probably this one itself) have been challenged as having a disparate impact on, and thus discriminating against applicants, based on race, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, and other categories in the past. Sometimes they've been found to be reasonable, sometimes not.

What it comes down to is that while they can't ask if you have a disability, and refuse to hire you on that basis. They can ask you questions that happen to go to symptoms of disabilities if they are relevant to the job. If you apply for a job that involves regular interaction with customers, for example, they can ask questions about your ability to interact with people, even though such questions would screen out people with uncontrolled social phobia pretty completely. But, if you can't interact with people, you can't do a job that has human interaction as a primary duty anymore than you can drive a taxi if you can't see.

Employers *do not* have to hire applicants who cannot do the job they applied for, even if the reason they can't do it is a disability.

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By the way -- it would technically be a form of age discrimination to boost the scores of internet-savvy applicants, since this would tend to put older generations at a disadvantage.
Possibly true, unless the job in question involved internet use, in which case it would be job-related. Again, disparate impact doesn't mean an employer *must* hire the same percentage of people from each protected class as applied, just that they can't use a test that screens out certain groups if the test isn't relevant to the job and justified by "business necessity."

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Another item: the reason that no one uses pre-employment aptitude tests is because no one can make an aptitude test that doesn't tend to favor certain races -- they would quickly get called up if they did.
Actually, lots of places use pre-employment aptitude tests, including government agencies. Lots of them do have disparate impacts, and there's constant litigation over whether or not they're discriminatory.

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Originally Posted by Reagan View Post
Just thought I'd throw those tidbits in since apparently most people do not understand what "discrimination" is in the broad, legal sense.
This is quite true, and it's very hard to get a real understanding of employment discrimination law from bits and pieces available online.

I want to state clearly here that nothing I've said should be construed as legal advice, or an assessment of the merits of your, or any, particular case. Most of this information comes from the EEOC website, here: http://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/fact...rocedures.html

Anyone who feels they've been discriminated against should consult an attorney, the EEOC, or their state or local equal employment agency.

I do find these tests troubling overall, as they seem to me to have serious potential for disguising discrimination. I just don't think it's as cut and dry as you suggest. I certainly wish you luck with your EEOC claim
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Old 10-07-10, 09:48 PM
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Re: CVS discriminates against people with ADD

Quote:
Originally Posted by APSJ View Post
The problem with all this is that the ADA does not prohibit employers from asking questions that are job-related, which as Kmiller noted, these, for the most part, clearly are. While an employer cannot utilize a test of this nature for the purpose of weeding out people with disabilities, they generally can use tests which ask job-related questions that have the effect of disproportionately screening out people with disabilities, if they can show it is a business necessity.
Okay, I'll give you that they can ask these questions if they can show that it is a business necessity. I don't however, think they could ever, in a million years, do that. And I don't think that "business necessity" is as loose a term as you think. A strip joint owner can say that it's a "business necessity" that his entertainers be young and female. A Hooters owner (contrary to popular belief) can not.

I would love to know the business necessity of these questions:

You look back and feel bad about things you've done
You get angry more often that nervous
Your moods are steady from day to day
You have friends, but don't like them to be too close


Is there any job that can't be done by someone who has regrets about their past?

I haven't been very clear on this: I've always believed that the basic underlying purpose of the Unicru is to make a business more profitable. I also believe that a business can make itself more profitable by weeding out people with certain disabilities. While a depressed (or crippled, or...) person can work a retail job, as a group they tend to be less effective at it.

While a person with ADHD can work a stocker position. As a group, people with ADHD are less effective than people without it.

Furthermore, there's not a whole lot of research or the internal workings of a good customer service rep, but there's a ton of research on the qualities of someone with a mood disorder. So if you want to design a test that will give you the most effective people, it makes sense to weed out people with disabilities that tend to make a less effective employee.

But it is most definitely not legal.
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