Reference no: EM131230919
Developing Diagnostic and Analytical Skills
Case Application 7: TIMING OF THE JOB OFFER
Does it make a difference when a job offer is made? For many, the answer may be no, but then, in HRM things are rarely cut and dried. Consider the events that took place in early 2005 at American Airlines.
In their quest to add flight attendants to their organization, company officials began a major recruiting effort. To deal with the numbers they anticipated, American representatives spent consider- able time screening applicants through extensive phone interviews. Those who passed this initial screening were invited to Dallas, Amer- ican’s headquarters, for group and individual interviews. For expedi- ency’s sake and for competitive reasons, successful candidates were then given a conditional job offer—conditioned on passing a drug test, a background investigation, and a medical exam. These individ- uals were then taken to the company’s on-site medical facility, where they were asked to complete a personal history questionnaire and give a blood sample. Shortly thereafter, the results were available, and three individuals had a questionable blood test result. After dis- cussing the matter with them, American officials learned that the three were HIV positive. Consequently, the company withdrew the conditional offer. As a result, the three applicants sued.
At issue from American’s perspective was that the three indi- viduals did not fully disclose their medical situation on the ques- tionnaire—thus they lied on their “application.” American held that the conditional job offer was just that—conditional. They hadn’t completed the entire hiring process—such as the background check—and only after all relevant information is in do they actually make a real or permanent job offer. They also cited that employ- ment law requires individuals to be honest in disclosing their med- ical conditions, which in this case the individuals did not. The first court to look at this matter agreed and dismissed the case in favor of American.
But the three individuals persevered. They appealed, and on appeal the court ruled that American had, in fact, made a real job offer, and then fired them for reasons that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. In its decision, the appellate court said that a conditional offer should be made only after all nonmedical factors have been evaluated. In this case, American had not done everything prior to requesting the medical examination, thus they did not fol- low the standard hiring process they had in place. As a result, the lower court’s decision was overturned and the case was permitted to go to trial.
1. Do you believe American Airlines has the right to rescind a conditional job offer? Why?
2. Is the fact that American did not follow their standard hiring process a problem here? Explain.
3. Do you believe American Airlines has the right to not hire someone who is HIV positive? Defend your position.
4. If you were the judge at the trial, given the facts presented above, who would you rule in favor of—American or the three individuals? Why?