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Post internal openings, ensure staff know how to apply for promotions

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Smart employers make it easy for employees to apply for promotions and make their promotion policies clear. They don’t rely on word-of-mouth or a buddy system to hand out promotions to favorites.

Recent case: Joe, age 57, worked as a district manager for an auto-related enterprise.

Joe hadn’t actually applied for any promotions, but claimed that he had repeatedly told his supervisors he was interested in moving up. He claimed the company didn’t post job openings, making it impossible for him to apply easily.

He finally did apply for an opening he heard about, but wasn’t picked.

When the promotion didn’t materialize, Joe sued. He alleged he was passed over for openings because he was older than other candidates and that his supervisors wanted a new, younger crew in management.

Joe sought to establish a continuing age discrimination violation. He argued that because jobs were never posted, he should be able to go back several years and add up all the times someone younger had been promoted instead of him.

Fortunately for the employer, the court concluded Joe had waited too long to sue over the one position he did apply for. Therefore, he could not try to pull in all the other unposted jobs as a continuing age discrimination violation.

Still, the litigation wound up costing the employer time and money it could have saved had it clearly posted promotion opportunities. (Doyle et al. v. O’Reilly Auto Enterprises, DC MN, 2018)

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