Base your promotion process on a well-publicized system of posting opportunities and tracking applicants—not word of mouth or personal recommendations. It’s the best way to prevent failure-to-promote lawsuits.
After all, if you can show an employee didn’t apply for a promotion, the case disappears.
Recent case: Geneva Butts sued the New York City Department of Housing Preservation for age discrimination. She claimed that she had not been promoted when others were.
But her employer had no record of her ever actually applying for the open positions she said she had wanted.
The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals therefore threw out her case. It reasoned that, since she never applied for the promotions, she had no basis to sue. She couldn’t be rejected or promoted if she never applied. (Butts v. NY City Department of Housing Preservation, No. 07-1930, 2nd Cir., 2009)
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