Here’s an easy fix for a potentially big problem: Post all promotion openings.
If you do, only employees who actually apply can take you to court. That can save thousands in legal fees and lost productivity. It also signals to employees that you value them and encourage equal opportunity.
On the other hand, if you don’t post promotion opportunities, employees you never considered promoting can sue.
Recent case: Longtime employee Sandra Culver quit in a huff after a male colleague got a promotion she believed she was qualified for. The company didn’t post promotion opportunities, so Culver never knew about the opening.
She sued, alleging sex discrimination. The company said the case should be dismissed, arguing that it couldn’t discriminate in hiring if Culver never applied for the job.
The court disagreed. It said that when employees have no way of knowing about promotions, they can sue over a missed opportunity. (Culver v. CCL Label, No. 10-5353, 6th Cir., 2012)
Final note: Culver ultimately lost her case, but not until the company spent big bucks on legal fees and lost time. Her case even went up on appeal, a very expensive process. In the end, Culver couldn’t prove she was, in fact, as qualified as the male co-worker who got the promotion.
- Immediately apply your policy to stop harassment before it escalates
- Prepare now for Paid Family Leave Act, taking effect in 2009
- Be prepared to explain why hiring criteria favor experience more than education
- Warn managers not to advise employees on litigation
- Do your best to promote workplace civility, but don't sweat faux pas that weren't meant to offend