Legal Issues

The Problem With Putting “Do Not Hire” Notes in Personnel Files

do_note_hire

By Eric B. Meyer

If I ever handled a plaintiff’s case again, at deposition, I would be sure to take a page out of the playbook of Texas employment lawyer Mike Maslanka:

Ask the manager who decided to fire the plaintiff whether he’s eligible for re-hire. An unprepared manager might blurt out, “Of course not; he’s suing us.” Say hello to a retaliation claim.

I thought of Mike as I read this recent Texas Court of Appeals case about an employer that admitted at trial that its receipt of EEOC right to sue letters “prompted” it to place the following notes on the Charging Parties’ personnel files:

Please note he is not eligible for rehire ever. Tried to sue us. Simply tell him, ‘sorry but we have nothing for you at this time. Please try again. Have a nice day.’ Not for rehire. Per Ben G.”

Retaliation and malice

Folks, that’s just stupid.

The notes in the personnel files was enough for the appellate court to uphold the jury finding of both retaliation and malice.

Remember that anti-retaliation laws apply not only to current employees, but also former ones, too. And if there’s anything a jury hates more than straight-up discrimination, it’s retaliation, which happens to be the most popular claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

This was originally published on Eric B. Meyer’s blog, The Employer Handbook.

Eric B. Meyer is a partner in the Labor and Employment Group of the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dilworth Paxson LLP . He dedicates his practice to litigating and assisting employers on labor and employment issues affecting the workplace, including collective bargaining, discrimination, employee handbook policies, enforcement of restrictive covenants, and trade secret protection. Eric also serves as a volunteer mediator for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Contact him at emeyer@dilworthlaw.com .
  • tosh3.0

    That is the entire story? The depth is less than a mud puddle.