When you look for evidence disassociating a manager from a hiring decision, the manager’s emails claiming credit for the decision don’t help. In a recent unpublished case, an employer needed to hire a scheduler. A former employee with experience was the obvious choice, but when the supervisor suggested his name, the site director said the candidate was too old and his wife had cancer. The site director also sent his boss a “confidential email” claiming to have “put the nix” to hiring the candidate “for . . . reasons that I can only tell you.” The cited reasons included the candidate’s age and medical problems, the candidate’s wife’s cancer, and the candidate’s (otherwise undocumented) bad attendance record. When the supervisor protested that considering the candidate’s age and relationship to a person with cancer would be “a felony,” the site directed stated, “Look, [the candidate] is old.” The director also threatened to discipline the supervisor for insubordination. The candidate did not get an offer.

With this recitation of the facts (taken in the light most favorable to the former candidate), it is not surprising that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found enough evidence of the site director’s bias and involvement in the hiring decision to send the case to trial. EEOC v. DynMcDermott Petrol. Ops. Co., No. 12-40424 (5th Cir. July 26, 2013).

NB: “confidential” emails do not exist.