What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? NY
I will try to keep this as brief as possible.
I am one of 4 on the search committee for a new assistant to one of the bigshot directors. We have a 3 step interview process and any of us have veto power. We pay substantially more than market rate and have amazing benefits, but we expect a lot out of our employees.
This is a very important position for smooth day-to-day operations. The last person in this job is about to be fired (they don’t know it yet) after only 2 months because of too many unscheduled absences. Literally every week she was late, had to leave early, or was absent the entire day without notice because of either a transportation delay (she took the bus) or an issue with one of her kids. (She was a single mom with 4 young children and no father around). These unexpected absences caused major disruptions. Therefore one thing we are really looking for is reliability. Our HR director has already said it’s perfectly legal to pass on a candidate who relies on public transportation.
We had a candidate Friday who I liked and was going to recommend moving on to the next round. She volunteered in the interview that she was a single mom with two kids and no father around. (Note: We did NOT ask her about this).
Later that day one of the other people in on the selection committee confided in me that he really did not want to hire another single mom. Truthfully I can see his point after thinking about it, but on the other hand I want to follow the law. I do not want to ask HR because then if this person doesn’t get hired and it somehow comes out that this came up as an issue, it will look like I pulled the plug.
So my question is… is it legal to not hire somebody because they are a single parent?