Do you have clear and objective criteria for internal promotions? Prepared to justify those criteria as business-related? If so, you have little to fear from employees who were passed over for a promotion, even if that means your isn’t a perfect reflection of the racial makeup of the local work force.
The key is to use criteria relevant to the job you want filled:
- Examine the job description to identify the major job functions the promoted employee will perform.
- List the skills, experience, education and training the ideal job candidate should possess.
- Compare the applicants to that list—and document that you did.
- Offer the job to the applicant who most closely resembles the ideal candidate.
Recent case: Olivia Davis and two other black employees worked for Pizza Hut as assistant or general managers. An area general manager’s position opened up, with an essential job function of overseeing the operation of five to 10 restaurants.
Davis and the others asked to be considered for the job, but management selected a Caucasian female. The three sued, alleging race discrimination and—since they had worked for Pizza Hut longer—claiming they had more experience than the woman promoted.
Pizza Hut cited its internal minimum qualifications for the position, and told the court the promoted woman exceeded the qualifications. She had owned, managed and had years of experience running several restaurants. That was good enough for the court—it dismissed the case. (Davis, et al., v. NPC Pizza Hut, No. 06-15122, 11th Cir., 2007)
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