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How to stop lawsuits from failed candidates: Document why you hired the successful one

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in Hiring,Human Resources

Are you prepared to defend each decision not to hire someone? Be sure you can explain why the person you did pick was the most qualified applicant. That way, you can counter any later claim of alleged hiring discrimination.

Advice: Contemporaneously document the specific reasons you made a hiring decision.

Recent case: Sue Ann has a degree in physical education and a teaching license. She has coached various sports at the high school level, but never football. That didn’t stop her from applying for a job as head football coach.

The school district chose a man who was already the acting football coach instead, noting at the time that it did so for continuity and experience and to save money, since he was already a school district employee.

Sue Ann sued, alleging the real reason she wasn’t hired was her sex.

The court dismissed her lawsuit, reasoning that the school district had provided several excellent reasons for preferring the male candidate to Sue Ann, including his experience specifically coaching football and the money it would save by not hiring and providing benefits to an additional employee when the acting football coach was already an employee. (Easterling v. Tensas Parish School Board, 5th Cir., 2017)

Final note: Always assume someone will sue you over hiring decisions. A solid reason or two for your hiring choice noted in your records goes a long way toward winning a surprise challenge.

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