Can you bypass a senior employee and hire from outside?

When management posted notice of a Mechanic Grade I vacancy in Maintenance, five employees put in bids for the job. After being interviewed by Maintenance Foreman Clint Fiske, four conceded they weren't sufficiently qualified.
By Raymond Dreyfack June 1, 1998

When management posted notice of a Mechanic Grade I vacancy in Maintenance, five employees put in bids for the job. After being interviewed by Maintenance Foreman Clint Fiske, four conceded they weren’t sufficiently qualified. The other man, Mechanic Grade II Ed Sanchez, insisted that with some additional training, he would have no problem handling it. In view of his 9-yr seniority, he felt he was entitled to the training.

Fiske disagreed. It’s a sad reality that some people, after reaching a level of employment, have no place further to go. They may be technically unqualified to advance, attitudinally disadvantaged, or have other problems that keep them from stepping up on the ladder. In Fiske’s opinion, Sanchez met two out of three of these disqualifiers. No amount of training, Fiske felt, would qualify him for the Grade I spot.

“Sorry,” he told the mechanic, “I have to call them as I see them.”

Sanchez wouldn’t settle for that. He accused Fiske of prejudice because he wasn’t “a lily white Caucasian.”

“Absolutely untrue and unfounded,” Fiske replied hotly. “This company is an equal opportunity employer, and I adhere strictly to company policy where hiring and promotion decisions are concerned.”

“I’m sure you do,” Sanchez snipped.

When Sanchez threatened to “bring his case to a higher court,” Fiske decided to talk the matter over with his boss, Plant Engineer Phil Thorne.

Question : If this was your decision, would you back down under Sanchez’s threat?

Thorne’s verdict: Filled in on the disagreement, Plant Engineer Phil Thorne backed Fiske’s decision completely. “For one thing,” he said, “this company enjoys an outstanding reputation as a law abiding equal opportunity employer. We have several minority people in key management and technical jobs. What’s more, it’s long been our policy where appropriate to train and upgrade people rather than hire from outside, and we have ample documentation to prove it. Where inappropriate, we don’t permit ourselves to be pressured.”