Should employers be able to recruit through employee referrals
I’d like to know the specific restrictions that Title VII places on an employer’s ability to recruit and hire. I am required to refer to cases of EEOC v. Chicago Minia, and by using a fact pattern from a litigated case. Here are the details –
Cone Mills Corporation had several recruiting procedures that gave preferential treatment to applicants who either had family members or friends working for the company. One of these procedures was to give priority to applicants who had family members employed by the company. The other procedure entailed having an unwritten policy that walk-in applicants had to have renewed every two weeks. This created a situation where only those walk-in applicants who had friends or family in the company would renew their applications because they would be the only ones informed of the informal rule, which was not presented in any manual or policy. These recruiting procedures were challenged as being discriminatory towards blacks in general, especially black women, because the informal network responsible for recruiting new employees was unavailable to them. The company claimed that the procedures were not designated to be discriminatory, but rather, to create a loyal family atmosphere within the plant (Lea v. Cone Mills Corp., 3001 F. Supp. 97).
Referrals and word-of-mouth is an informal way of recruiting employees. Basically this system is simple and an easy source of internal recruitment. If the organizational policy states that employees will be recruited on the basis of referrals and word-of-mouth to create a congenial environment in the organization, then this recruitment procedure will not be illegal.
If the policy does not state this condition, then it may lead to the creation of informal groups based on religion, race or sex. Thus, it results in discrimination which is a serious offence in the eye of law. Law prohibits this type of discrimination. So employers can recruit employees through referrals and word-of-mouth only if the organization policy affirms it.