Here’s a tip for avoiding lawsuits over alleged discrimination. Don’t keep statistics just on the employees you hire. Track those to whom you offered a job, but who turned it down, too.
If you tend to hire members of the same sex, race or other protected class, those kinds of records may come in handy later if you’re sued and you have to show that you considered a wide range of applicants.
Recent case: Rick Rockwell and several other white firefighters in Harvey sued the city when they weren’t selected for one of several open deputy chief positions. They claimed that the city promoted only black candidates.
They also alleged that hiring and promoting minority candidates had become standard procedure since a new mayor had been elected.
For example, they pointed out that within the police department, only one white candidate was hired for 32 positions—the rest were filled by black candidates.
For the eight open deputy chief positions, three black candidates were promoted—essentially every black candidate got one of the jobs, while some of the positions were filled by white candidates.
But the city countered with applicant records and copies of job offers. In many cases, white applicants had been offered jobs, but had turned them down. That was good enough for the court, especially when it saw that it wasn’t just black candidates who were promoted. It dismissed the case. (Stockwell v. City of Harvey, No. 09-2355, 7th Cir., 2010)
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