Do you spell out all the details about the internal job opportunities you make available? If you don’t, you should—including the negatives.
While some jobs may seem more prestigious or carry additional opportunities for training or promotion, there may be negatives associated with what appears to be a promotion. If employees accept such a position and then find lower pay, longer hours or other negatives they didn’t anticipate, they may be tempted to sue—especially if they suspect you withheld information just to bait them into taking the job. If they are a member of a protected class (e.g., race, sex, disability), they may suspect you targeted them for a promotion that really wasn’t a promotion.
Recent case: Martino Taylor, who is black, worked at UPS in a combi-nation job made up of two part-time
positions. He worked inside as a laborer and earned the top of the pay scale for the position.
Taylor saw a notice for another combination job that required driving and inside work. He applied for the position and was selected. But when he got his first pay check, he noticed that he was actually making less per hour than he had in his prior position. That’s when he began to suspect race discrimination, and sued. He reasoned that he had been fooled into accepting a lower paying job as retaliation for complaining about race discrimination in the past, and that “white managers” in the HR office were playing fast and loose with compensation to get back at him.
But unfortunately for Taylor, the job announcement included an explanation of the pay scale and other negative (as well as positive) elements of the job. Because the information was right there in the announcement, he couldn’t claim he had been tricked. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals said he had no case. (Taylor v. United Parcel Service, No. 06-5813, 6th Cir., 2007)
- Doesn't matter that he didn't put a ring on it! Engagement unnecessary for retaliation
- Disclaimer can counter employment-contract argument
- Employer rolls workers' comp dice--and wins!
- There are complaints, then there are complaints: General gripes about unfairness aren't protected
- Shared Work Program helps workers cover reduced hours