The Corner

Politics & Policy

Lawsuit Recruiting

In the Washington Post‘s Top Workplaces magazine this week, kudos are given to Power Home Remodeling Group for its diversity uber alles efforts:  To help boost the number of women, Power added an extra $1,000 referral bonus for new female recruits — giving employees $3,000 rather than $2,000 if the candidate gets hired.”

Now, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bans among other things sex discrimination in private employment, says:  It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer . . .  to . . . classify his . . . applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities . . . because of such individual’s . . . sex. And those regularly undertaking to do recruiting for individuals or companies are likewise banned from classify[ing] or refer[ing] for employment any individual on the basis of … sex.

I’ll also note that Power is based in Pennsylvania, in which the relevant federal court of appeals has explicitly rejected the diversity justification for employment discrimination under Title VII (no federal court anywhere has accepted it, by the way).  And I’ll ask, would anyone — including, say, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — find it legally permissible for an employer to give special bonuses for the successful recruitment of white males?  (By the way, Power’s policy would as reported encourage white women to be referred not only over white men but also over nonwhite men.)

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