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Can we refuse to consider rehiring a job applicant who we previously terminated?

by on
in Employment Law,Hiring,Human Resources

Q. We are a larger company. I noticed that an applicant for a position within one of our branches was previously employed and let go by another division. Would it be discriminatory to decline interviewing a candidate for this reason?

A. On its face, it would not be unlawful to deny employment to an individual who was previously terminated from another position within your company.

Because any type of adverse employment decision can trigger legal claims (including the decision not to give someone an interview), it is always a good idea to be able to provide a business reason to support your decision. The fact that you had to let this person go in the past is a reason, but it would be stronger if you dug deeper to learn what led to the termination.

That could help you make a good hiring decision. Maybe the previous manager thought the individual did a great job, but the position wasn’t a good fit. Maybe she was let go during a reduction in force based on seniority.

If the applicant is otherwise well qualified, it seems like you have an excellent opportunity to get more information than you normally can about an applicant. If it turns out the person was a disaster employee, then you have even more reason to support the decision not to interview if your motives are ever challenged.

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