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3 things employers should learn from Adams v. CDM Media

Searching for a job is one of the most stressful processes to go through. As you write cover letters, update your resume and embark on interviews, it can easily become an arduous pursuit. The resultant anxiety would only worsen if you suspect that prospective employers were discriminating against you based on your age. This is exactly what happened in the case of Adams v. CDM Media.

The case consisted a 59-year-old woman’s allegation that the company denied her employment on the basis of her age. The dispute eventually made its way to the Hawaii Supreme Court, and there are a few things that employers — and employees — can learn from the events of the case.

Requirements should be explicit

According to the summary judgment published by the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce, one of the standards established in the trial was employers’ responsibility to explicitly outline the requirements of an open position. If there are nonnegotiable criteria which the candidate must meet before qualifying for the job, a company must specify this in order to claim it as a reason for denied employment.

Must have valid reason

In addition to explicitly naming the required qualifications of a position, employers must also give a valid, nondiscriminatory reason for denied employment. If company disqualified a candidate due to lack of experience, for example, this must be easily demonstrable and in accordance with the requirements established explicitly by the job description or opening announcement. Ambiguity is potentially indicative of unfairness.

Treatment must be consistent

Employers should be able to prove that they treat employees and prospective employees with a consistent set of standards. If a company denies candidates employment for certain deficiencies in their qualifications, then this must align with the qualifications of the company's staff and other prospective candidates. Inconsistency is a telltale sign that discrimination may be at play in a questionable hiring decision.

 

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