Remind everyone involved in the hiring process: It’s much better to pick up the phone to discuss a candidate than it is to send an e-mail. E-mails can be recovered (and used as evidence in court); phone calls cannot.
Recent case: Suzanne Salisbury, a black woman, applied to become a Pittsburgh city emergency medical technician. The application asked if she had ever sued an employer and she answered “yes” because she had been involved in a lawsuit related to union organizing.
Her application indicated she held the appropriate education and certifications for the position.
Then two of the managers involved in recruiting started exchanging e-mails about the candidates. The first e-mail read, “Don’t interview her. She is bad news.” Another e-mail indicated, “She sued a former employer and has all kinds of financial problems.”
Later, the managers would explain that they didn’t want to hire someone with financial problems because she might be tempted to steal while in a patient’s home.
Salisbury wasn’t hired and sued for race and sex discrimination.
She contended that her involvement with the earlier lawsuit was protected activity and should not have been used against her. Salisbury acknowledged that she had filed for bankruptcy, but pointed out that Pittsburgh had hired white men with bankruptcy records. She argued that it was discrimination to assume white men with financial problems wouldn’t be tempted to steal, but black women would.
The court said the case should go to trial. There, Salisbury will be able to argue that the e-mails show prejudice against her because she was involved in past protected activity and that the managers had a racially biased view of financial problems. (Salisbury v. City of Pittsburgh, No. 08-CV-0125, WD PA, 2010)
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/11458/hiring-bias-alert-beware-smoking-gun-e-mails "
- Interview questions: What's legal, what's not?
- Stick to the facts when firing employee who complained of discrimination
- Be prepared to explain your reasonable rationale for firing protected-class worker
- Arbitration agreements must be specific and conspicuous
- Do-it-yourself audit of your company policies