When Harcum College in Bryn Mawr had an opening for a facilities supervisor, the department’s manager considered hiring an outside firm to run the unit. When he told employee Sid Kelly, who is black, about the idea, Kelly expressed interest. He said, “I know there’s a few of us that may be qualified for these positions … I know housekeeping; I’ve been dealing with this.”
The department hired two white co-directors. Kelly sued for race discrimination.
The U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled against him, noting that to claim discrimination, an employee must have applied for the position. While courts have allowed verbal expressions of interest to suffice in place of paper applications, the District Court ruled that Kelly’s remarks were too general to constitute a personal expression of interest. The court also noted that Kelly made no attempt to follow up.