Let’s begin our discussion on recruitment by using a fact pattern from a litigated case. Cone Mills Corporation had several recruiting procedures that gave preferential treatment to applicants who either had family members or friends working for the company. One of these procedures was to give priority to applicants who had family members employed by the company. The other procedure entailed having an unwritten policy that walk-in applicants had to have renewed every two weeks. This created a situation where only those walk-in applicants who had friends or family in the company would renew their applications because they would be the only ones informed of the informal rule, which was not presented in any manual or policy. These recruiting procedures were challenged as being discriminatory towards blacks in general, especially black women, because the informal network responsible for recruiting new employees was unavailable to them. The company claimed that the procedures were not designated to be discriminatory, but rather, to create a loyal family atmosphere within the plant (Lea v. Cone Mills Corp., 3001 F. Supp. 97).
Should employers be able to recruit through employee referrals and word-of-mouth? Does the law allow for such a recruitment technique? What specific restrictions does Title VII place on an employer’s ability to recruit and hire? As part of this discussion, refer to the cases of EEOC v. Chicago Miniature Lamp Works and EEOC v. Consolidated Service System in Chapter 4.