Post open jobs so everyone knows to apply
There’s a simple way to prevent lawsuits over missed promotions. Post all internal opportunities and encourage all employees to apply.
If you don’t, workers may sue, alleging that the real reason they were denied a promotion was because of some kind of illegal discrimination.
Sure, you might be able to beat such a lawsuit. But you can avoid that hassle and expense completely by posting internal opportunities for all to see.
If you post jobs, employees actually have to apply before they can sue. On the other hand, if you don’t announce the opportunity, employees can sue by merely stating they would have applied had they known about the opportunity.
Recent case: Frederick is black and in his late 60s. About a decade ago, he took a job teaching computer classes at community centers for a recreation department. He was soon promoted and moved to the central office.
Then his boss transferred to another office. After almost a year, the department hired a younger woman to become manager of administration.
Frederick sued, alleging that because the job was never posted, he didn’t have a chance to apply. He claimed he was qualified for the job and would have applied if he had known about it. He claimed the job wasn’t posted in order to keep him from applying.
The court said that because the job had not been posted, Frederick’s failure to apply didn’t bar his lawsuit. (Had it been posted, he would have had to actually apply.) Thus, the lawsuit made it through the initial stages.
Fortunately for the recreation department, Frederick couldn’t show he met the minimum qualifications for the job. If he had, the case would have gone to trial. Instead, his lawsuit was dismissed. (Lewis v. City of Shreveport, 5th Cir., 2018)