A small regional manufacturing company had an employee who was unsuccessful when she applied for a posted promotional vacancy. She felt she was being discriminated against because she was of minority descent. She made a charge to company management. Management told her she did not get the promotion because another candidate was better qualified for the position. The employee told management that unless she was given the promotion she was going to contact an attorney.
The Company management did not know what their legal rights were regarding choosing who received promotional opportunities when they arose, since the situation where someone said they were discriminated against had never happened before.
Luckily HR FOR HIRE had worked with the company prior to this incident and had put safeguards in place regarding protecting against claims of discrimination when promotional decisions are made. We had put in a Job Announcement Program that included provisions of hiring the best qualified person. We had also helped in the development of job descriptions which specified the Essential Functions of the position. We had also helped with the development of position related questions that all candidates were asked. We also had provided training to management personnel on what they areas of questions “can and cannot” legally be asked of candidates. Finally we had advised that it is always best to have more than one management person in the interview to take notes, to avoid any “he said/she said” situations.
Since the company had taken the proper precautionary measures before posting the position, interviewing candidates and awarding the position, we were able to resolve the situation without the employee going externally to an attorney or a Federal or State Employment Agency.
This situation could have just as easily turned into a situation where the employee contacted an attorney or governmental agency and the company would have had to defend against the charges. This could have resulted in many thousand dollars by means of a judgment in favor of the Claimant and high attorney fees and potential loss of the company reputation is the law suit went public.