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When Making Reference-Check Calls, Take and Retain Good Notes

Business Management Daily (04/04/12)

When employers check applicants’ references, they must be
sure to take careful notes during those discussions and retain
those notes in case there is litigation. The recent case of
Romero v. State of North Carolina highlights that need. After
Janet Romero, who is white, applied and was rejected for two
internal promotions, she sued for race discrimination after two
African-American women were selected for the openings.

The supervisor explained to the court that when a choice between
candidates was close, he checked their references. Romero’s
ex-boss explained that he had reservations about her
communication skills, a key part of the new job. As the
supervisor’s notes showed, the other two candidates’
supervisors rated both of them highly, offering no reservations
about communication skills. The court said that even if Romero
met the other requirements, she was not the best qualified based
on her supervisor’s assessment, and that was a legitimate
reason for passing her over.