You can never know beforehand which applicant might sue you. That’s one good reason to track every hiring decision and document why you hired some candidates and not others.
Recent case: Janet Beal, who is black, claimed she applied for numerous jobs with CSX through a temporary employment agency. She sued, alleging race discrimination. Fortunately for the company, it could show the court why it hired each applicant, and Beal didn’t have anything to counter their documented reasons. (Beal v. CSX & Randstad, No. 08-11487, 11th Cir., 2009)
Final note: Your documentation doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just jot down why each candidate stood out as the best of the batch. Experience, education and good references are all valid business reasons for preferring one candidate over another. Of course, never mention any protected characteristic.
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