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If the employer hired nobody, can I still complain to EEOC alleging discrimination, if I was the most qualified candidate?

Columbus, OH |


I was an applicant for a tenure-track opening in mathematics. I have a PhD in Math, and I have done the same job in the recent past successfully at a sister institution. The department that I applied to showed another candidate with a MASTERS degree in APPLIED STATISTICS as their first candidate to the Dean's office and I was shown by the department as the second best candidate. (i.e. We were short list candidates, and the two of us were their top two choices, although the majority of the department showed the other person as their top choice.) The dean wanted me, the department thought otherwise.

Finally, it was called a "failed search" by the Dean's office and nobody got hired. I was a great fit.

Do I still have a case or a shot at complaining to the EEOC for discrimination?

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Attorney answers 2


You can always file an administrative complaint with the EEOC, however, the overwhelming majority of complaints filed with the EEOC result in no action. Even if there is evidence of discrimination, you will likely receive a "right to sue letter" from the EEOC after a few months. After this delay, the letter will instruct you to find an attorney and to file a federal lawsuit within 90 days of the letter.

Start looking for an employment lawyer as soon as possible. It might be beneficial to speak with an attorney before filing the EEOC complaint.


I have a lot of experience with legal claims based on tenure matters and I urge you to consult with local counsel who is highly experienced in tenure matters involving your school before you go any further on this issue. In the real world, you will not prevail in a legal claim on this basis and you will cause irrevocable career damage for yourself. Sad but true.

You can read cases going back 40 years for the entire U.S. and you will not find more than a scant handful where the claimant succeeded on such issues and even in those few (less than a dozen cases with strikingly outrageous facts), the result was not adequate or satisfactory to the claimant. Tenure is just a whole special universe.

Consult in-depth with a local attorney who know this subject matter before you mis-step.

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