What are my rights if I feel that I didn’t get a job because my employer wants to hire their friends/family?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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What are my rights if I feel that I didn’t get a job because my employer wants to hire their friends/family?

I applied for a position and took a required test for future employment. I felt very confidant and was looking forward to an interview when I got an email replying that I hadn’t met the minimum qualifications necessary to continue in the hiring process. I replied with an email asking for more clarification and was told that they don’t release the testing scores or any information related to them. I feel like theres more going on, if it was just a matter of a failed test then why don’t they release that information? I feel like they use the test as an excuse to not hire people so that they can hire the people that they want to hire friends and family. Is there anything that I can do?

Asked on October 7, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that not all employees, or prosective employees, need be treated the same or even fairly. Discrimination in employment is not against the law unless it constitutes actionable discrimination. This means that if you were not hired due to your being  member of a legally protected class, then you would have a cause of action. So, for example, if you were declined a job due to your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, age or disability, that would be illegal. However, if you were not hired because your employer gave preference to their family and/or friends, that is perfectly permissable under the law. Perhaps unfair but legal. In at will employment, for the most part, an employer can set the terms and conditions of employment much as it sees fit, and this includes who to hire or not hire.
Note If your treatement violated the terms of a union or collective baragaining agreement or company policy itself, then you may a have a claim. However, you did not indicate that to be the case.

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