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Sometimes, you have to trust a jury to make the right decision

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Performance Reviews

Most employers have severe cases of “juryphobia.” They assume that a jury will automatically side with an employee and award hundreds of thousands of dollars to right an alleged wrong.

The result: Employers are often too eager to settle cases just to get out from under the possibility of a runaway jury. But caving in like that can make you a more tempting target for other employees.

If you and your attorneys are convinced you didn’t do anything wrong, it may be best to trust a jury to hear the case and come to the same conclusion. That’s what one employer recently did.

Recent case: Avril White, who is black, worked as a student recruiter for a Texas Job Corp vocational training facility. During the time she worked there, the campus had more black students than white or Hispanic students.

White was fired for alleged poor performance, including not processing bonus payments to other recruiters, poor planning and the inability to get along with others.

She sued, alleging race bias.

A jury heard the case, including evidence that managers thought white students were afraid of black students. There were allegations that the facility treated white employees better than black staff.

But the jury concluded that none of that evidence of possible facilitywide prejudice trumped White’s poor performance as the reason she was fired. It ruled for the training center. (White v. Management and Training Corporation, No. 09-50010, 5th Cir., 2009)

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