You never know which employee will sue you, when or why. Everyone can probably find some reason good enough to get past the courthouse door. It’s your job to make sure you can send them right back out.
The best way to do that: Always have a solid reason for disciplinary action.
Recent case: Janice Yost worked at a call center and was over age 40. When her boss caught her sleeping in her office chair with her phone system set to “busy,” Yost was warned that napping was unacceptable workplace behavior. Later, two co-workers entering the call center also observed her sleeping. This time, she was terminated.
Yost sued, alleging age discrimination. But the court threw out the case because her employer showed she wasn’t meeting the very reasonable expectation of staying awake at work. (Yost v. Memorial, No. 08-3112, CD IL, 2009)
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- Track, respond to every hostile incident report
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- Be alert for retaliation suit if manager reports that a colleague discriminates or harasses
- Use Applicant-Tracking Policy to Prevent Hiring-Bias Claims