This is a hypothetical question I thought of earlier today, I do not plan on taking any legal action right now. If I were to sue a fortune 500 company in small claims, would they be able deny hiring me in the future?

If so, that seems a bit unbalanced - small claims can only be used to sue for a few thousand dollars (state-dependant) and the potential loss of a job is much more valuable than that. How does the court system balance this out?

  • 2
    The court system does not consider such things as hypothetical future job applications.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 17:39
  • They will certainly Google your name when you apply for a job, and since many court records are online, they may find it; and they have all kinds of latitude about hiring you. Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 1:36

2 Answers 2


In general, in the US, employers have very wide latitude in how they decide whether or not to hire someone. There are specific factors like race, sex, national origin, disability status, etc, on which they cannot discriminate, but otherwise they can do as they please. It would be perfectly legal for a company to decline to hire you because you had previously sued them.

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    I suppose it would be illegal if a group of companies, say lots of construction companies, refused to hire anyone who ever sued one of the companies in the group for non-payment of wages, safety violations etc.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 23:39

It would depend upon the nature of the claim. There are a select list of claims for which there a statutes barring employment discrimination based upon seeking relief under them (mostly federal regulatory law whistleblower protections). If this was a reason of an employer, it would be a forbidden consideration just like race.

But, the vast majority of small claims court claims are not covered by any such statute, so discrimination on the basis of making a prior small claims filing against the company would be permitted in those cases.

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