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Be alert for hidden–or overt–bias when hiring manager rejects qualified candidate

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Do some of your supervisors gripe about having to follow anti-discrimination laws? Rein them in. Otherwise, you’ll wind up in court if a job candidate gets rejected for obviously illegal reasons.

Recent case: Phillip worked for DynMcDermott as a scheduler for over two years and was considered a conscientious employee until he was laid off. Then his wife was diagnosed with cancer.

When an opening occurred at the petroleum engineering company, former co-workers recommended him for rehire. He sent his résumé and his potential supervisor told HR, “I would like him to be the one we talk to. He has been a scheduler here before and he knows the job.”

Then another manager stepped in. He nixed the proposed interview, claiming Phillip’s prior attendance record was poor. He also pointed out that Phillip was 56 and had a sick wife. He said he wanted a generally “younger” workforce. When the first supervisor pointed out that this could be age and disability discrimination, the manager essentially said he didn’t care.

In the end, the manager was disciplined for his ageist statements and for making an issue of Phillip’s sick wife. However, Phillip still wasn’t hired.

The EEOC sued, alleging that despite DynMcDermott’s decision to discipline the manager, the company discriminated when it didn’t hire Phillip.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said the agency had a case and could take it to trial. (EEOC v. DynMcDermott, No. 12-40424, 5th Cir., 2013)

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