Can a current employer require numerous extra steps and requirements for a current employee putting in for a promotion versus what is required for external applicants?

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Can a current employer require numerous extra steps and requirements for a current employee putting in for a promotion versus what is required for external applicants?

I recently was presented with a question from a friend. She works at a company as a regular employee (not management) that sells, installs and repairs heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical work. A managerial position recently opened up there and she wanted to apply. The CEO (the company does not have an HR position due to their small size) sent out an email to all employees about the open position. They stated in the email that it would also be open to any outside applicants. Any internal employee interested would need to submit a resume. So, that night she went home, updated her resume, wrote a targeted cover letter and emailed it to the CEO. The next day she got a response to her application for promotion via email, from the CEO, which detailed the requirements for any and all internal applicants. She would need to identify something with the business that could be improved upon, detail and implement a solution, and then hold a training seminar with the other employees to explain and train them on the new system. She would need to record the training seminar and submit it or wait until the CEO had some free time and conduct the training with them present. Another requirement for internal candidants is that they are required to sell a yearly maintenance subscription to a customer via a self-initiated, recorded, outbound, cold call. Then the CEO would review the recorded call to evaluate the candidate’s performance. She has been given a week to complete the above requirements, which I’m confident she can do. At the end of the week, if the internal candidate completed all the above requirements, they would then be eligible for an interview. When asked by another employee how an external candidate would complete the above requirements, the CEO stated that they were not required to do anything but turn in a resume and come in for a job interview. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Is this legal under state and federal labor laws, equal opportunity laws or any other law or mandate? Over the past few years that my friend has worked at the company, they have run into problems related to violations of labor laws. For instance, they did not allow full-time employees sick time and the sick employee would have to take the day off as unpaid until it was brought to their attention from an employee that was leaving for another company. In that situation, they claimed that they didn’t know anything about it and shifted the blame to the fact that they didn’t have any employees with any HR training. This company has been in business for over 20 years and run by the same owner and CEO.

Asked on June 17, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Idaho

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The fact is that not all workers need be treated the same or even fairly. That is unless their treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. is based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40), disability) or violates the law in some other way. However, based on the facts given, this does not seem to be the case here. Accordingly, absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, your friend's company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The fact is that not all workers need be treated the same or even fairly. That is unless their treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. is based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40), disability) or violates the law in some other way. However, based on the facts given, this does not seem to be the case here. Accordingly, absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, your friend's company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. 


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