Carrie Mason-Draffen Newsday columnist Carrie Mason Draffen

Mason-Draffen, a business reporter, writes a column about workplace issues.

DEAR CARRIE: My daughter was recently hired to work at a local retail shop. She had to go in for two days of training to see if she was a good fit. On the second day, the owner put all her information into his computer in expectation of her joining the staff. He even told her about the tentative schedule she would be working.

At some point during the day, he was making conversation with her and mentioned where he lived. When she said she used to know someone who lived in that neighborhood (but who had passed away recently), he asked her his name and then proceeded to tell her that the boy was a drug addict and that he, as a former police officer, demanded that the kid not even walk past his house in order to protect his children from such a bad influence.

He then asked my daughter if she also had a drug problem, since she admitted knowing him. He also reminded my daughter that he was a former police officer and would know if she were lying to him. My daughter is 19 years old and did have an addiction problem, but has gone through counseling and is still attending meetings to help with her recovery.

Needless to say, with the intimidation she felt, and the pride in her progress, she told him the truth about her life. Suffice to say, he then told her that he wouldn’t be able to hire her after all. Is this legal?

She was under no obligation to tell him anything and she thought that telling the truth would be the best thing to do. I am so disgusted with this man, especially since he seems to take such pride in being a former police officer. He obviously has no compassion for people. Do we have any recourse in this matter? — ARRESTING EXPERIENCE

DEAR ARRESTING: Difficult bosses come in all stripes, and your daughter just happened to have one who was a former cop. And his mistreatment of her was illegal, an employment attorney said.

“Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York Human Rights Law, an employer is prohibited from discriminating against employees who have a history of drug addiction,” said Richard Kass, a partner at Bond, Schoeneck & King in Manhattan. “The former cop has broken the law.”

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He added that current drug users are not protected by the law. But as a recovering addict, your daughter has the law on her side.

You didn’t mention whether the former boss paid your daughter for her training days. If he didn’t, that’s also a violation.

“The reader’s daughter is entitled to be paid for her training time,” Kass said.

For more information on her rights, tell your daughter to go to, the website of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces anti-discrimination statutes in the workplace. And if she wasn’t paid for all the time she worked, she should call the U.S. Labor Department at 516-338-1890.

DEAR CARRIE: My title is legal assistant in the law unit of a large insurance company. I earned my paralegal certificate from a local community college and have been performing the duties of a paralegal, based on the company’s job description. When I brought this up to the managing partner, he said he couldn’t change my title or give me a raise. I suggested that we ask human resources, but he vetoed that idea. Do I have any recourse? — NEW CREDENTIALS

DEAR NEW: When a boss refuses to acknowledge or reward your efforts to better your skills, it’s either time to enlist the help of someone else in the office — without offending him, of course — or to change jobs to get the recognition you deserve.