I know an individual who is trying to get a labor job in NYC. This particular industry has in the past been associated with organized crime, and now is trying very hard to prevent that from happening again. It's a good union job, & part of the hiring process has involved multiple drug tests (urine, then a few weeks later hair), a background check, information on household members, etc. I don't think this is necessarily unreasonable, but it's escalated quite a bit - with the running joke by current employees being that it'd be easier to get a job with the FBI. One individual was denied a position because they determined his family is "connected," while the guy's brother is a Supreme Court Judge.
They've completely dissected his life, and are asking such bizarre questions and making unbelievable jumps: Do you know John Smith? No? Well, before your father worked at his current place of employment, John Smith worked there. How'd your father find out about the job? Do you know anyone who participated in XYZ? No? What about [friend's brother's friend]? Do you know anyone who was accused of participating in XYZ crime? No? Well your neighbor was and you were at his BBQ last summer. How well do you know him? Have you been in their house? Do you know their parents?
The whole process has taken months, and they keep calling my friend in for follow-up interviews. During this time they record sessions, have a lawyer present, make him swear under oath, and threaten sue if they determine he is providing any false information. They've asked the names of his parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles, name of spouses & ex-spouses. More recently they've also asked for copies of the license of his parents and their cell phone/landline numbers.
My friend is being compliant because it's a good job & he has nothing to hide, but it seems they're going to do background checks on his parents also. Who knows what his parents' friends' cousins' neighbor was accused of 40 years ago! It seems like a witch hunt. Are these legal hiring practices?