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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19307
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I believe that I was discriminated against in the promotion

Customer Question

I believe that I was discriminated against in the promotion of a position. I am a nurse, employed by current employer for 5 years, no policy violations or complaints of that I am aware of. I have been a float employee for 2 years before my hospital decided to close the float pool. I then took a full time position in the ICU. Recently, in December the float pool was made available again. I applied as am qualified. The qualifications were to essentially be eligible to work in the said float to departments. In this case, ICU, ER and AHC. I, in the past, have not only worked these units, but provided charge nurse duties. The problems arises when 2 friends of the current department manager also apply for the position. One was not qualified, and has never worked in the ER. I had more experience, higher educated and able to perform more responsibilities for each assigned unit than either male. The director is male, the 2 he hired for the position were male. Neither employee had ever floated outside of ICU during their PRN time employed with this company of less than one year. I routinely floated and provided relief charge assignments as well. The current director of ICU is also the director of the float pool. Now, the one male who was not qualified for the position wants out and they are making him stay 6 months as this is policy for transferring into a new department. I was told by one of the individuals that they had both put in a resignation before the float pool was created and during their exit interview said that they would only stay if there were offered a float pool position. The ICU director and CNO created a float pool, 4 positions-2 days and 2 nights. 7 people applied for the day shift only positions. Of all of the applicants, I was the only one who was qualified to even be offered a position. I, a single parent, working there for 5 years, in graduate school, also having a bachelor's degree was offered a night position and the positions in which I applied for were given to the 2 men who are friends of his. One of the guys, even reported that hands down, I was wronged in this situation and should have been offered a day shift position. I went to HR and was told that no unfairness occurred during the hiring process. HR only discussed the hiring process with the directors involved in the interview process. The director who hired the men went through the ICU unit telling people, many of which who report that they would gladly corroborate in court and with HR if asked, that he made those positions for them. After reporting these events to HR, I suffered excessive stress with said director and requested a transfer to another department. He extended my transfer another month and harassed me during this time to the point of having to take medication to go to work. I would have panic attacks to the point of having chest pain at the thought of even seeing him. He effectively attempted to write me up. Again I went to HR, as my physician reported to me that he would write for me a leave of absence until the effective date of my transfer secondary to my continued stress. HR advised him to not contact me through any means without a person present as I was so distraught. HR did not pursue any additional means of investigation, even after telling them that he went around the hospital telling people he made the job for the 2 men, so they wouldn't leave. Yes, they go hunting and fishing together, and both of the men who were offered these positions, their wives also work in the same unit. This director also 'parties' with the CNO. I wrote on my write up that all of this was simply a form of retaliation secondary to me going to HR to report his discrimination. HR did not make a formal report and refused to report my concerns to corporate. This is only a sample of his actions, but are the actions most specifically concerned with my complaint. I took schedules to HR, showing I was routinely floated and they weren't, and didn't even have the experience necessary for the job. The pay difference for me would have allowed me to quit a second job, and as a single mother, would be most helpful. Now, I have had to take on a third job to support my family. Which, by the was is a critical care float pool nurse at another hospital in town, not the one I have worked at for 5 years. Please help, I am not sure what direction to take at this point.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance. The problem that I see here is that you are mentioning numerous potential reasons that these people were hired ahead of you, but most of them are not legally considered discriminatory in employment law. To be discriminatory, the decision to hire or promote has to be based on race, religion, gender, age or disability. You have certainly mentioned that they two hired were men and that touches on gender, so that's certainly a factor in favor of alleging discriminatory motivation. However, you have also mentioned that the hiring individual was friends with these two. Hiring a friend is not illegal. Being motivated to hire a friend over someone more qualified, called "cronyism" is not illegal. If this person was motivated by his friendship rather than gender, that's not illegal. The fact that the wives also worked in the unit is also evidence more of cronyism than gender discrimination. You also mentioned that these individuals had put in a resignation, threatening to leave if they didn't get the position. Giving someone a position is order to keep them is also not illegal. It's not an illegal motivation to promote someone that says they'll leave over someone that has not made that statement. This doesn't suggest gender discrimination and is a fact that actually works against your claim of gender motivation here. So, you have multiple, competing theories here, only one of which is illegal and the others count as "legitimate, non-discriminatory" reasons for promoting these two ahead of you. You may certainly file an EEOC complaint to have this matter investigated. The EEOC may find more evidence which backs the gender discrimination angle, but I would not point out the friendship angle (unless it is to argue that he only befriends males) and I would certainly not raise the issue that these two were resigning if they didn't get the position, as those facts harm your claim here. You don't need an attorney to file an EEOC complaint. Just call them and submit your claim for review. If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.