No Sex Discrimination Because Employer May Determine Required Qualifications


In rejecting a female plumber’s sex discrimination claim arising from her non-selection for several positions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reiterated that the employer may decide who is best qualified to fill the positions in question.

In Gibson v. MGM Grand Detroit, LLC, a female plumber claimed that she was not selected for several positions based on her sex, as male candidates with less seniority were awarded the positions. The 6th Circuit, however, found that the employer had offered a legitimate reason for her non-selection – that it found the other candidates more qualified based on their hotel experience and continuing education. In this case, there was no evidence to suggest that the reliance on these other qualifications was based on sex. The 6th Circuit held that “employers could look at qualifications not expressly articulated in the job description and give greater weight to some qualifications over others.” Thus, this case provides support for employers’ ability to determine what qualifications – unrelated to sex, of course – are most important in selecting a successful candidate.