Entrepreneurs looking for quality workers may struggle to find the right person for the position. Multiple rounds of interviews and checking with a number of previous employers to help confirm a hopeful candidate is the right addition for your team is common practice.
In some cases, an offer letter may go out and new information may lead an employer to reconsider the offer. An employer out of Florida provides an excellent example of what not to do when faced with this situation.
New info on new hire — what not to do: In this case, the new information did not impact the candidate’s credentials. It did not unveil a criminal past or shady background. Instead, the candidate announced that she was expecting a child. Within 30 minutes of the announcement, the employer sent an email rescinding the offer of employment, stating that the company was looking for a candidate that would help out for the “long term.”
The candidate promptly accused the employer of discrimination based on her pregnancy and filed a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The two parties settled, with the employer agreeing to pay the candidate $100,000 in damages.
Lessons for employers in similar situations: A recent publication by the Society for Human Resource Management discusses the case. Although a discussion about any potential job modifications that would be necessary to continue employment is generally allowed, employers should avoid the presumption that a pregnant applicant cannot complete the job requirements.
If you are concerned the employee will be unable to complete job requirements, it is wise to seek legal counsel. An attorney can help you navigate through the issue, whether it involves negotiating an agreement or representing your interests during litigation.