Workplace Culture

Beware the Email Chain of Fools

By Jon Hyman

Jun. 11, 2015

A software engineer rejected for a job by GoDaddy is suing the company for discrimination. Why does he believe that the company discriminated against him?According to USA Today, he read it in the email chain included in his otherwise vanilla rejection email.

The e-mail…, which appears to be sent from a group titled the “GoDaddy Recruiting Team,” begins with a tame form letter, explaining that Connolly had not been selected for a job as a mobile IOS developer. But the note he said he saw below it in the e-mail chain packed an unusual punch.

It read, “about keith he’s great for the job in skills but he looks worse for wear do we really want an obeese (sic) christian? is that what our new image requires of us.”

Like many before it, GoDaddy says that either it was hacked or the email was fabricated. Some computer forensics will sort out the truth of that defense. If it turns out that the email is legit, GoDaddy might want to rethink its “we are not offering any kind of settlement or an apology” position.
 
Do I really need to tell you not to ever put something like “do we really want an obese Christian” in an email? Some things are better left unsaid, or, more to the point, un-typed. And, for god’s sake, please read those emails (all of them) before you click send. It makes my job a whole lot easier defending you without that smoking gun. 
 
And, before my employee-advocate readers get all over my case for defending one’s right to discriminate merely by keeping silent, yes, in an ideal world no one would think this way. But, my job is to defend the companies that have the misfortune of employing those that do. If GoDaddy is wrong, and one of its recruiters did send that email, then it should stand by its pronouncement that it is “proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer” and settle, period.
Jon Hyman is a partner in the Employment & Labor practice at Wickens Herzer Panza. Contact Hyman at JHyman@Wickenslaw.com.

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