When it comes to hiring and promotion, one of the best things you can do to protect your organization from lawsuits is to clearly explain the qualifications and experience needed before you schedule an interview with a candidate. You should, for example, set a minimum test score and experience level, and stick with them.
Recent case: Luis Hernandez worked for FedEx as a route driver and considered himself a loyal employee. When FedEx passed him over for a promotion as a senior aviation technician, he suspected race discrimination. FedEx interviewed him once and then passed him over for the next five open positions without an additional interview. He sued.
But FedEx explained to the court that it didn’t interview Hernandez after the first time because it was clear he didn’t meet the minimum experience and skill levels. Hernandez had no evidence that FedEx considered only employees who belonged to other categories than he did, nor could he point to any discriminatory statements. His case was dismissed. (Hernandez v. FedEx, No. 06-4745, DC NJ, 2008)
Final note: You can’t avoid all lawsuits—but having good, solid business reasons for your decisions will get them tossed out fast.