Is An Employer’s Preselection Of A Job Candidate Evidence Of Discriminatory Employment Decision?
For more than twenty years, our Citrus County employment discrimination lawyers have fought for the rights of employment discrimination victims. Having litigated employment discrimination cases on behalf of employees for decades, our Inverness, Florida employment discrimination attorneys know that employees continue to experience systemic discrimination in the hiring and promotion. In the hiring and promotion context, one tactic commonly deployed by employers to mask discrimination is the preselection of candidates. When preselecting a candidate, the employer still follows its policies and procedures regarding hiring and promotion for the ostensible purpose of selecting the most qualified candidate. Those policies and procedures, however, merely serve to camouflage the employer’s discriminatory motive because the employer has made the employment decision before the policies and procedures are implemented. In this article, our Citrus County employment discrimination lawyers explain how the decision in Stokes v. Detroit Public Schools,Case No. 19-1773 (6th Cir. Mar. 31, 2020) illustrates that an employer’s preselection of a candidate for hire or promotion is evidence of a discriminatory motive.
Employment Discrimination Lawsuit
In that case, a man named Stokes brought an employment discrimination lawsuit against his former employer, Detroit Public Schools (DPS), under federal employment discrimination law. Stokes claims that he was denied promotion because of his age and gender in violation of federal employment discrimination law.
In 2006, Stokes started working for DPS as the Human Resources Administrator. In July 2015, Stokes became the Acting Deputy Executive Director to the Executive Director of Human Resources. When he assumed that position, Stokes signed a six-month contract to serve in that role. Near the end of his six-month contract in December 2015, Stokes applied for a job as the Executive Director Talent Acquisition (EDTA).
Evidence Job Candidate Was Preselected
In November 2015, an external applicant, a twenty-eight-year-old woman named Hampton, applied to DPS for the position of Deputy Superintendent of Talent. On November 30, 2015, a few weeks after Hampton initially applied, an agent of DPS, Denton-Brown, sent an email in which he, among other things, asked DPS employees where Hampton’s status stood. Denton-Brown mentioned, “Ideally she would interview for [the Deputy Superintendent of Talent] and, if strong but not quite qualified for that position . . . , she would be offered the [EDTA] position.” Saying that Hampton “would be offered” the EDTA job implies that she was preselected for the position.
On December 3, 2015, a DPS employee, Henderson, sent an email to another DPS employee, Earley, saying: “[Hampton] has a competing offer she needs to respond to, so if you think she is the right fit we will potentially have to keep her interested for a couple of weeks or find an alternative solution to bring her on board quickly.” Another email from a DPS employee, Green, states: “Ealey would like to move [Hampton] through the application/hiring process for the ED Talent position. Obviously, we’d like to start and conclude the process as quickly as possible.”
On December 18, 2015, Stokes, Hampton, and another candidate all interviewed for the EDTA position. After the interviews, the interview panel recommended Hampton for the EDTA job. She received an average score of 83.6 from the interviewers and Stokes received an average score of 63.3. DPS justified the candidates’ scores as the reason for selecting Hampton for the EDTA position. Hampton started the job shortly after she received the offer.
Preselection Is Evidence Of Discrimination
The trial court dismissed Stokes’ employment discrimination lawsuit. On appeal, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision and reinstated Stokes’ case. At the outset of its opinion, the appellate court explained that “preselection is relevant evidence of an employer’s motivation” and it “operates to discredit the employer’s proffered explanation for its employment decision.” Applying this principle, the court of appeals determined that Stokes’ evidence that DPS preselected Hampton for the EDTA role and planned to offer Hampton the position before the interview refuted DPS’s claim that the “poor scores from Stokes’ interview motivated the decision not to . . . promote him because the preselection occurred before the interview.” Thus, the Sixth Circuit concluded that a jury could find that the “interview scores were not the reason DPS did not pick Stokes for the EDTA role, because DPS selected Hampton weeks before, and that Stokes’ age or gender was the real reason for the decision not to promote him.
Citrus County, FL Discrimination Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our employment discrimination attorneys in Citrus County, Florida have dedicated their practice to representing employment discrimination victims. If you are an employment discrimination victim or have questions about your protection from employment discrimination, please contact our office for a free consultation with our employment discrimination lawyers in Citrus County, Florida. Our employment discrimination attorneys take employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.