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Track résumés: More applicants = more suits

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

If you have a fairly informal application process, now’s the time to firm it up. The prolonged economic downturn means you’re receiving many more applications and résumés than normal. And that means more potential for lawsuits from unsuccessful job-seekers.

Example: Trevor Bright, who is black, worked as a temp for GB Bioscience but wanted a full-time gig. He claimed that he dropped off his résumé at a receptionist’s desk several times over the course of a few months. The company never called him in for an interview. He sued, alleging race discrimination.

The court dismissed the case. Reason: GB Bioscience showed that it kept careful track of all résumés. It proved that it never received Bright’s first few résumés.

The company did finally receive one of Bright’s résumés (along with those of numerous highly experienced applicants). But the court agreed that the company had a good reason for not interviewing him—there were simply many better-qualified applicants. (Bright v. GB Bioscience, No. 07-20926, 5th Cir., 2008)

The lesson: Establish a uniform posting system so everyone interested in your job openings knows where to look. Then log every application you receive. If you’re later challenged in court, you’ll be able to show how many applications you received and who applied.

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