Have you had an employee who always tries to see how far he can stretch workplace rules? You know the type—he takes all breaks, arrives just before he’s technically late and never volunteers for the tough tasks.
That guy might not be the best choice to promote into a job that requires following strict rules. You can use his bad attitude against him.
Recent case: Lester Walker, who is black, worked for a little more than a year as a police officer and then for eight years in a totally different position for the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Then he sought out another job as a police officer.
Walker was turned down after a discussion about his attitude. Apparently Walker frequently looked for ways to stretch the rules. The Treasury Department decided he wasn’t the best candidate for the job because he tested the limits of its policies.
He sued, alleging he had been denied the job because of his race.
The court disagreed. It said the department’s assessment that he inappropriately tested limits was a legitimate reason to prefer another candidate, and that Walker had no evidence the reason was just a pretext for race discrimination. (Walker v. Geithner, No. 10-10191, 5th Cir., 2010)