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  • possible discrimination case New York

    Hi all new to forum was wondering can this be a possible discrimination case? Here is the story I work in higher education in NYS SUNY system. I am a supervisor for a department. My son who does not live with me applied for a position that opened in my department it was entry level. A husband of the Administrative dean of students also applied.( a 30+tear nys retiree) Went through the hiring committee a 5 person interview and my son came out 1st husband 2nd any way the college claimed there is a anti nepotism policy which there isnít. I asked for them to produce it couldnít. In which case there are plenty of husband wifeís parents siblings. So they call back the #2 candidate the husband not the #1 and hire the husband. This intuition is way out of line any suggestions advice? Possible suit? Tis was all most a year ago statute of limitations if so? Thanks

  • #2
    It is not illegal discrimination.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I can see a few possible reasons:
      (1) was the spouse the retiree? Do you have union representation? If so, it is possible that there is a union contract that requires a rehire of a prior union employee over a person who is not or has not been in the union/worked for the state. That service may have given him a positive that your son does not have.

      (2) If there is no union, it is still possible they have a policy to hire State retirees over younger people (knowledge of the system, experience, maturity, etc)

      (3) There can also be anti-nepotism issues at differing levels -- that is within a department versus the dean of students who (I assume) doesn't work in your department. I know many that can work for the same employer but not be on the same management ladder as the spouse/parent/relationship.

      (4) illegal discrimination is one that is based on a protected characteristic -- gender (they are the same), race (don't know), religion (don't know), age (obviously the spouse is probably older than your son since he has 30+ years of service). If anything the age of the retiree protects him more than your son.

      (5) Even without an anti-nepotism policy, sometimes hiring can be about who you know.

      I do question how you know what order they came out of interviews in...and it is possible the interviewing/hiring committee presents its recommendations but someone else made the final decision based on any of the factors above. I have found this to be especially applicable in higher education.

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      • #4
        While SUNY does not have an anti-nepotism policy, the New York State Ethics in Government nepotism policy states that state employees may not participate in any decision to hire, promote, discipline, or discharge a relative who also works for the state.
        I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!

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        • #5
          They don't have to have a written policy.

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          • #6
            Most employers would have a problem with a parent and child in the same department when one is the head of that department. It has the potential to get awkward. It is totally legal and frankly I'd have been surprised if they allowed you to hire your kid.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              Well it could be awkward but I have one department where there is a wife who is the chair of that department and her husband works for her. How is that any different? As for state policy the husband was a CO in local prison no experience no written policies. I believe I have heard if it is not written and not readily available to staff it is not policy.

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              • #8
                Even if it was a written policy, note that employers are not legally bound to follow their written policies. Please also note that you're arguing with experts who have more than a hundred years' HR and employment law training and work experience between them.

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                • #9
                  Not arguing seems all HR staff is cranky probably losing to many grievanceís .

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                  • #10
                    The bottom line is based on what you posted, this is not illegal discrimination.
                    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                    Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kgb1996 View Post
                      Not arguing seems all HR staff is cranky probably losing to many grievanceís .
                      Insulting the expert volunteers here is probably not the best way to get accurate legal information. Or is insulting people the real reason you came here?

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                      • #12
                        I once had a situation where we had, against our better judgement, allowed a husband and wife to work in the same department. This proved to have been an incredibly bad decision on our part when we ended up having to fire the husband for cause. We said, never again.

                        At that same time, we had one set of cousins, and one set of brother and sister, working in different departments. We informed all four of them that at no time would we ever allow any of them to transfer into the same department where their relative worked, and we would, going forward, not be hiring any more family members of existing employees.

                        Was this discrimination? Yes. Was it illegal discrimination? No.
                        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                        • #13
                          OP, I agree with the other posters that is would be very problematic if a child worked for a parent. Not only for the other employees but for your child/

                          How do you think your son would feel working the same place as you? I can see other employees not being friendly or involving your son in after work functions because of the connection. If any gossip made its way to your office, your son would be viewed by others as the source.

                          It is common practice not to allow relatives in the same chain of command because of these types of issues.

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                          • #14
                            Where I worked, they allowed family members to work there (no matter what the relationship) but not in the same dept.
                            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You are mistaken that it must be in writing in order for something to happen or be prohibited. That is not true at all. There is no way to codify every possible situation which might arise. It could be that when presented with two decent candidates, they saw a potential problem with one but not the other so they went with the less problematic one. That happens every single day, in every single hiring situation. You have more than one good candidate and you must decide which is the best fit. The child/relative of the department head would be among the least desirable no matter the qualifications. The spouse of someone in another department is no where near as problematic and can even be a bonus in terms of loyalty to the company.
                              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                              Comment

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