HR Hero Line

You’re hired? U.S.A., Inc., eyes Trump for CEO

by Kylie Crawford TenBrook

Let’s say—hypothetically—you are conducting a search for your next CEO. One résumé in particular has caught your eye. The candidate’s qualifications include managing a real estate empire worth billions and owning a marginally successful enterprise whose business model is founded on judging women by their looks. 

Wanting to know more, you vet the candidate. During the vetting process, you learn the following:

  • He has no experience in your industry.
  • His business approach consists of making inflammatory comments rather than engaging in strategic planning.
  • He apparently does not like Mexicans, referring to them as rapists, and he has made disparaging remarks about African Americans, women, Muslims, and veterans. He vehemently stands behind these statements.
  • He thinks that products from China are “cheap,” but when you question him further, you learn that the products he currently sells are made in China (and—wait for it—Mexico).
  • He is quick to call others names, including bimbo*, loser**, the worst***, and very dumb****.

On the upside:

  • He refuses to take no for an answer.
  • He apparently travels only by helicopter (or escalator) and therefore can get anywhere quickly.
  • He has a full head of hair, which he will allow you to pull to ensure it is real.

Weighing these factors, would you hire him as your next CEO?

“Kylie,” you say. “Your hypothetical is too absurd—no one would hire this person to run a company.” But, alas! The person I’m referring to is Donald Trump (duh), and he is vying to be the next CEO of the great United States of America.

You’re hired! You’re sued! You’re gonna pay!
If the United States were a company and you hired Trump, what bad could come of it? Well, plenty. Let’s just take the racist, sexist, antiveteran, anti-Mexican, and anti-Muslim comments.

When an employee engages in discriminatory conduct toward a coworker, the employer will not be liable for his actions if it (1) has a policy prohibiting such conduct, (2) has a procedure for employees to report such conduct, (3) promptly investigated any allegations of such conduct, and (4) took remedial action (if any is necessary) following the investigation. However, when a “supervisor” (which the U.S. Supreme Court has defined as an individual with the power to make “a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a significant change in benefits,” a definition that certainly includes the CEO) engages in discriminatory conduct, the employer is not able to take advantage of the same defense. So, if an employee can demonstrate that the supervisor’s conduct rises to the level of discrimination under the law, the employer will be liable.

If U.S.A., Inc., hired Trump as its CEO and he acted consistent with his previous behavior (which people tend to do), the company could be facing some serious discrimination charges, and perhaps even a class action or four. There’s really not much of a defense to put up, so U.S.A., Inc., should be ready to pay.

For the record, I wouldn’t hire Trump. But what do I know? I’m just a bimbo loser who thinks the worst is perhaps better than what’s to come.

*bimbo: a woman who challenges the speaker with regard to his views on women.

**loser: someone who attempts to employ logic rather than inflammatory statements.

*** the worst: Barack Obama.

****very dumb: used to describe someone who is in competition with the speaker.

Kylie Crawford TenBrook serves as corporate counsel and previously, she practiced labor and employment law exclusively. In her spare time, she enjoys reading about the misdeeds of celebrities, politicians, and professional athletes and making the tenuous connection between those missteps and what she does for a living.

Want to continue this conversation? Go to the BLR Employers Forum and tell us what you think about Trump as a CEO? Are employees having similar conversations–possibly inspired by Trump–in your workplace?  Let us know what you think at You don’t have to be a customer to join.

17 thoughts on “You’re hired? U.S.A., Inc., eyes Trump for CEO”

  1. I will ask very politely and professionally that you stay away from politics and from talking/writing badly about them!!! You can also be sued for slander!
    As a “Hispanic” I will tell you that you DID NOT get the story straight! so you should pay attention to the ENTIRE story and not just the publicized portion that you select.

  2. Let me’re a liberal Democrat? Good for you. Apparently you are well-suited for a new career in mainstream media reporting. Your readers don’t care about your political views. Next time, please stick to a more professional presentation of a topic. Politics doesn’t belong in the workplace, in an HR presentation, or even an article about HR.

  3. Not an appropriate venue for this opinion piece. Obviously this attorney does not like Donald Trump and that is her prerogative. She could have made her point without getting personal against someone she does not know and bases her views on what she reads in the NY Times and Huffington Post. If she wants to be fair, she could write a similar article on hiring a CEO who has issues with female employees and interns.

  4. I agree this is not the place to address political issues. However, since you asked — my view is that politicians think only politicians are qualified to be in the race. Most Americans are tired of listening to politicians say they can run the country. and they are doing a good job. Not so. Trump is speaking for a lot of us who want to make America great again. Our Country is being raped by a bunch of get rich quick politicians who could care less about issues right here in their backyard. I believe they think for America to be great, we have to be in every Country’s business sending them aide, troops to fight and be willing to take their oppressed when there are plenty of oppressed Americans who have nobody to lend them a hand.

  5. Though I agree with many of the sentiments expressed, I do not think this is appropriate for this newsletter. I don’t want political viewpoints expressed here.

  6. The writer made a comparison. Perhaps she could have omitted naming the candidate, but the comparison was to draw attention to what the country and ultimately workplace could and probably would evolve into with like minded people, in terms of discriminatory behavior. I think her point was missed. And to Nita Says, your comment about the President was not nice. There are probably some out there that think YOU are the worst. Travel to some other countries (i.e. N Korea, Iran, etc.) and I am sure your opinion of our President would change.

  7. HR Hero Line:

    You guys made a serious error in allowing this article to be published in this venue. This is offensive, irritating, and in great respects just plain wrong. This venue is supposed to give us employers guidance…factual, objective, and accurate guidance. You missed the mark greatly here and many, many of us I suspect, are put off by this.

  8. Political opinion aside (which I am in agreement with) you raise an interesting perspective. I typically choose a candidate who I think has the same values I do. It would be interesting to evaluate the candidates like I would in an interview. What do I expect from the person in this position (skills, qualities, expected results) and pick the person that I feel meets that criteria (not who I like best personally or best matches me).

  9. I don’t think I will read another one of your issues. This venue should be neutral politically. Poor decision making on your part. Whoever gave this article the “green light” should be “fired”. I am in agreement with most of your points, but am seriously put-off that it made your newsletter. Shame on you.

  10. I agree with all of the commentators who stated that this article was inappropriate for the HR Hero Line. The editors must exercise better judgment in the future and refrain from publishing such unabashedly biased “articles” seeking to make a political statement. As pointed out by Richard Davis, a “fair and balanced” approach would be to point out that USA, Inc. should never have hired a President/Commander in Chief with a history of harassing and assaulting women, and USA, Inc. should have fired said “leader” when committed sexual harassment in the Oval Office and then lied under oath about it. This “hypothetical” makes a much stronger case of what to look for (and avoid) in a candidate.

  11. Your article is entirely appropriate. The Presidency IS a job. Clear assessment of qualifications should be made here just as in any hiring process. The candidate example illustrates how hiring decisions (and voting decisions) must be evidence-based.

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