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Hiring concerns due to third party information; North Carolina

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  • Hiring concerns due to third party information; North Carolina

    We are a seasonal Festival and there are employees who have come back to work for us every year for twenty or more years. One such person is an elderly woman who manages one of our kitchens. She has always been a great worker. This year she called to inquire about returning so the hiring manager emailed her a digital application, which she has not returned to us even though adequate time has passed. Since we know she has difficulty with technology, the hiring manager asked her nephew, who lives with her and also works for us seasonally, if he might offer to help her figure out how to apply.
    The nephew hadn't wanted to mention the following because he loves his aunt, but he shared concerns that she is often confused and forgetting things people just told her and may be in the beginning stages of dementia. She has not been diagnosed as she won't see a doctor about it. Since we heard this from him, this is not our information to use, and we don't feel we can broach it with the applicant without violating her privacy. We are concerned about liability, supposing it is true, should something happen while she's on the job. She manages a fast paced kitchen that has to hustle while still maintaining safety protocols.
    Our Plan A is to leave the application alone and if she forgets to apply, the problem is resolved for now. If she calls to inquire, however, we don't know how to address our concerns. I've counseled the hiring manager to suggest she come in for an interview, and then see if she notices any deficiency that gives her concern. That would give us a basis for not bringing her back without violating her privacy. That is all I can think of to do. If she seems fine during that interview, though, we are worried that if she is experiencing medical issues that are intermittent, they could present at the wrong time and cause a serious accident. We are afraid to hire her but have no defensible basis for it that I know of. Does anyone have any other strategy they can suggest?

  • #2
    Hi CatHerder! Glad to see you're still around. I only realized the site had re-opened a shn'ort time ago.

    I would definitely go with Plan A if possible. You are not obligated to follow up on her inquiry any more than you have done.

    If she does follow up, then you are left with a choice. But either way, you are not obligated to follow up with her. You can simply say, "Sorry, Sally, but we have no further open slots at this time" and don't bring her in for an interview. Nowhere does the law say that everyone who applies needs to be interviewed.

    If you're not comfortable with that, however, you can always try plan B; interview her and see how it goes. But always keep in mind; you do not owe her a job.
    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.


    • #3
      Thanks so much for the response, cbg. I'm always grateful for the consult.


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