Here’s an easy way to avoid needless failure-to-hire lawsuits: Simply have someone who is not involved in the initial decision to offer interviews remove risky identifying information from résumés.
That way, an unsuccessful applicant can’t argue she was turned down because of a protected characteristic, since the person who arranged the interviews would never have known about it.
Recent case: Judy applied for an HR specialist opening with Dow Chemical. On her résumé and in her cover letter, she listed her qualifications, which did not include experience in a union environment. That was one of the specific qualifications the job announcement listed.
Judy was passed over for an interview. She sued, alleging age and race discrimination.
But the Dow HR representative who issued the initial interview invitations swore that the reason Judy wasn’t offered an interview is because she lacked the required experience, while other applicants did.
She went on to explain that she was unaware of Judy’s age or race when she made that decision because none of the materials forwarded to her from the recruiter who handled the initial applications included that information.
The court tossed out the case at the preliminary litigation stage based on the affidavit.
Judy had no evidence at all that anyone at Dow—much less the HR professional offering interviews—knew her age or race. (Harris v. Dow Chemical, No. 13-4697, 3rd Cir., 2014)