It happens all the time: A manager decides to take a chance by hiring a marginally qualified applicant. Then, days later—as the new employee struggles—it becomes clear she can’t do the job. Employers have little choice but to terminate the worker.
And then the former employee feels like she has little choice but to sue for some form of discrimination.
Sometimes those cases are dismissed—but only after the organization has spent time and money to defend its actions.
The best way to avoid those lawsuits: Use care when hiring, only bringing on board applicants who stand a good chance of succeeding.
Recent case: Louise Doverspike got a job at International Ordinance Technologies as a metal parts inspector. She was terminated a few days later when it became clear she couldn’t keep up the pace expected of employees.
She sued, alleging many forms of discrimination. For example, she claimed she was fired because she moved slowly, something she blamed on a thyroid condition and her generally large size.
Eventually a court dismissed Doverspike’s case. The court said it didn’t make sense for the same company to hire her and then fire her days later for discriminatory reasons. (Doverspike v. International Ordinance Technologies, No. 09-CV-00473, WD NY, 2010)
Note: The employer might have been able to avoid this entire legal problem by administering a pre-employment test to determine if Doverspike could perform the job.
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