Retain all résumés to show your hiring process wasn’t tainted

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

Want to prove that you hired the best applicant and selected the right individuals to interview? Keep all the résumés you received for the position.

They may come in handy later if you are sued, especially if the person who made the hiring decision is no longer around to testify about the hiring process.

Recent case: Over the course of four years, Stephanie, who is over age 40, applied for two jobs as a librarian with the Shelter Island Union Free School District. The first time she applied, a younger man got the job. The second time, a younger woman did.

Stephanie filed two EEOC age discrimination claims, one for each application. On her second complaint, she added a retaliation charge. She claimed she hadn’t been hired precisely because she had filed an EEOC complaint after her first unsuccessful application.

In court, the school district couldn’t produce the decision-maker because he had died. However, before his death, he had submitted an affidavit explaining that he didn’t hire Stephanie because her résumé showed career “instability.”

The school district then introduced all the résumés into evidence. Compared to other applicants, it argued that Stephanie’s résumé showed the spottiest career progression. She had held several librarian jobs, but none full time and none for very long. In fact, her longest-lasting job was selling real estate.

Stephanie argued that none of the résumés were relevant and that only live testimony from the man who made the hiring decision would do.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It said since the hiring manager was dead, it was good enough that the collected résumés explained the decision not to hire Stephanie. (Bucalo v. Shelter Island Union Free School District, No. 10-1516, 2nd Cir., 2012)

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