Can an employer deny you employment on a posted position based on personal issues?

UPDATED: Sep 14, 2011

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Sep 14, 2011Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can an employer deny you employment on a posted position based on personal issues?

I am located a small town in WA and have applied to a position but was quickly shutdown. I later found out that the person for the final say had a personal conflict despite the fact we have never met. It turns out that he had been dating my ex and she had used my name in reference to me searching for a job in the local area, thus him making the connection. At first I was told the job was filled. Later I found that the job was actually still open. I reapplied and he says I don’t qualify. Is this legal? I have a great resume and contacts galore; qualified is far from the truth.

Asked on September 14, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Washington


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First off, an employer has a great deal of discretion in whom to hire. Unless there was some company policy contrary to the way in which your situation was handled, or there existed an applicable union agreement covering hiring practices, or actionable discrimination was a factor in this matter, you have no claim (and an employer dating your ex-wife does not constitute such discrimination; generally it is perfectly legal to give a prospective employee more favorable or less favorable treatment than another).

The fact is that the majority of employment relationships are "at will". This means that an employee can choose whether or not to work for a certain employer. In turn, an employer can hire or fire and dictate the the terms and conditions of employment as it deems fit (subject to the above) . Therefore, an employer can refuse to hire a given employee for any reason or no reason at all.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption