Employers are free to create reasonable rules for submitting job applications and make potential employees follow those rules. As long as your rules aren’t enforced in a way that favors one group of applicants over others, courts will let you reject an applicant for failing to follow those rules.
Recent case: David Johnson, who is black, applied for a job as a firefighter with the city of Denton. He passed the civil service exam and was given a “Personal History Statement” to complete.
The form required applicants to sign the document authorizing the release of application information. It also required the signature of someone else who had witnessed the applicant completing the form. Johnson turned in his form without a witness signature.
The fire department rejected Johnson because his paperwork lacked the signature and told him he would have to reapply.
Instead, Johnson filed a federal lawsuit claiming race discrimination, pointing out that he would have been the city’s first black firefighter. He tried to expand his lawsuit to include all other similarly situated applicants, too—in this case, all black applicants turned down for Denton firefighter jobs.
The city objected, pointing out that it applied the witness signature requirement to all applicants, regardless of race.
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals turned down Johnson’s case. It explained that employers can set reasonable application rules. In this case, the rule was reasonable and enforced against all applicants, leading the court to conclude there was no evidence of any form of discrimination. (Johnson, et al., v. City of Denton, No. 09-40266, 5th Cir., 2009)
Final note: This case serves as a warning—there may be applicants out there looking for a class-action lawsuit. Make sure your hiring practices are colorblind.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/10880/set-job-application-rules-apply-them-equally "