Employers don’t have to tell applicants exactly how the hiring process works—for example, how you sort applications, evaluate candidates for possible interviews and make job offers. Just make sure that everyone in the HR office who handles applications knows what the rules are. Then make sure everyone applies them evenhandedly.
Recent case: Vivian Bert and three other black applicants applied for jobs at AK Steel. All four were rejected during an initial screening process. The company routinely screened out applicants who did not have a high school diploma or equivalent, two years' manufacturing or labor experience and a valid driver’s license. Also disqualifying was a criminal record or prior employment with the company.
Three of the applicants were rejected because they didn’t pass all five screening tests. The fourth wasn’t selected because his phone was disconnected and he could not be reached.
The four sued, alleging race discrimination. They argued that the screening requirements should have been written or advertised. The court threw out the case. It reasoned that the company had no obligation to tell applicants how they screened applications as long as they applied the rules consistently. (Bert v. AK Steel Corporation, No. 1:02-CV-467, SD OH, 2008)
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