Laid off, job re-opens, HR says I don’t qualify

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Laid off, job re-opens, HR says I don’t qualify

I worked for 10 years at job but was then laid off 7 years ago, with 5 others, due to budget cuts. I was 1 of 2 that were called back as independent contractors for projects until now. There were 2 positions that re-opened in 2 years ago. I applied but hiring was closed again due to another budget cut; we never got beyond sending applications. Last year, they opened hiring up again. However, I was told in a letter by HR that I did not qualify for the position. I find this strange because the work done and the equipment used has not changed; I helped install and maintain the equipment when I was there and did the same thing during the projects they contracted me for. This is a huge government body whose central HR hires for every department and I doubt they really understand the job they are hiring for and are going by a checklist, none of our departments does their own hiring. So after a back and forth with HR, they never gave me a solid explanation besides I don’t qualify. During this time someone else was somehow employed and then hired before there was even a candidate list to choose from. This other person was now employed and hired, leaving me and another former employee wondering. If they hire me for contract work and am allowed into the building to visit regularly, how do I not qualify and someone else gets hired during a hiring freeze? This is a government entity.

Asked on November 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you feel that your treatment was due to some form of legally actionable discrimination (which you did not indicate), then it was legal. Basically, most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit, so long as in doing so no terms of an employment contract or union agreement are breached. 

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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