Is This Illegal?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about AfroAmerican offered a “Contract-to-Hire”¬† 3-6 months due to long commute:

I recently applied for a position as a Software Manager for a company in Boston, MA. I am a resident of Rhode Island (1-1/2 hrs away). I found the position posted on a technical job board as a FULL TIME Management position. I emailed & mailed my resume to the company. I received a call to schedule an interview within 3 days. I was originally scheduled to meet with 3 people. It turned out being 7 people (from 2 pm to 5:15pm).

Needless to say, I aced the interviews! PLEASE NOTE: I’ve commuted from Central NJ to Wall Street (NYC) for years. The next day, they emailed me the form to complete for a background check. The following week, I received an email to contact HR. I was told that everyone had nothing but positive things to say about me; but the hiring manager thought the commute would be too much for me! Therefore, they would only offer me the position as a “Contract-to-Hire” for 3-6 months with no guarantee they’d hire me. Nor would I get anything in writing.

I was shocked and insulted, considering one of the interviewers was a woman, who would be my predecessor. She did the job in a fulltime/management capacity, but I would not be permitted the same opportunity. Yes, I think the job is a perfect fit for me, but I wanted the benefits too! I don’t know if this had anything to do with me being African-American or whatever, but I did not feel the potential employer had the right to determine if my personal commute would be an issue if I told him it would not be.I think taking this position would be a mistake since I do not trust the hiring manager now (based on his initial actions). Please advise.

Signed, Lost Trust

Dear Lost Trust:

If you had information that the company hired someone who was not minority or a male instead of a woman who was more qualified, it could be discrimination. This is the old “Bait and Switch” routine. Nothing racist about it but it is illegal. They advertise a Mercedes and give you a clunker instead. Notify the proper authorities of this illegal act. Register your displeasure with the top executives of this company and also report it to your professional organization and the association to which this company belongs. You sharing this information should help others to be aware of unethical tactics. Do let us know what you learn. Thinking and acting ethically and legally is WEGO mindedness according to Gorden.

Dan Kearney