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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.