One good way to eliminate discrimination lawsuits is to have the same manager who hired an employee also handle the termination if you need to let the employee go.
That way, if the terminated employee alleges some form of discrimination, you can logically argue that it would make no sense for the same person who chose the employee over other applicants to turn around and fire that same employee based on prejudice.
Recent case: Tsegaye Takele, a black man from Ethiopia, applied for a medical residency at the Mayo Clinic. A panel of four Mayo staff members recommended accepting him, and he began working as a resident.
He shortly began earning low grades, and his supervisors became concerned about his skills. When he didn’t significantly improve, another panel—this one including three of the original four panel members—voted to terminate Takele for poor academic and work performance.
Takele sued, alleging race and national-origin discrimination. He also claimed he had been terminated because his knowledge base was much better than his supervisors’ and they were jealous and embarrassed by his skills.
But the court didn’t buy the discrimination claim, especially since many of the same individuals who first recommended Takele also voted to terminate him. It is unlikely, reasoned the court, that “a person would hire a minority and then ... decide to fire that same person based on minority status.” (Takele v. The Mayo Clinic, No. 08-1980, 8th Cir., 2009)
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