Is it legal for a corporation to give someone a position without a formal posting over 50 other more qualified people?

UPDATED: Apr 1, 2011

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Is it legal for a corporation to give someone a position without a formal posting over 50 other more qualified people?

The management told us that they use a computer program that selects a small group of people so that the selection will stay unbiased. The employee in question has worked for a short time and has very limited knowledge. They did a back door and because someone is retiring, she is getting the job with no formal job posting and her job now is not at all related. How can they toss 50 people out, some with 20+ years experience. She only works 16 hours a week and is offered full-time with much much better pay. Is this not discrimination to the other 50 plus they are laying off? Her aunt works closely with that department as well.

Asked on April 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Actually, it probably is.  In most states, CT included, employment is "at will".  Accordingly, an employee can work for an employer or not, their choice. And in turn, an employer can hire or fire an employee for any reason or no reason whatsoever, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, etc. as it sees fit.  Exceptions to the above would be if there is a stated company policy contrary to the way in which the situation was handled or there is a union/employment agreement that does not allow for such action.

Additionally, this situation must not have arisen due to some type of discrimination.  However, workplace discrimination does not mean all discrimination.  Employment discrimination as a general rule occurs when an employee is treated differently because of their race, color, religion, national origin, disability, gender, sexual orientation or age by an employer in either hiring, discipline, performance of job duties or termination.  To prove unlawful discrimination, employees must be able to show that an action affecting employment was based on the fact that the employee belongs to a protected class rather than a legitimate business decision (even if that business reason also involves favoritism or other non-actionable bias). 

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.

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