Sometimes, all it takes to stop a potential lawsuit based on a supervisor’s poor behavior is a timely warning.
Take, for example, what might happen if a subordinate believed her supervisor was targeting her for poor treatment because of her race. If she goes to HR for help and the company ignores the problem, chances are the situation will escalate. But if HR takes a strong stance and persuades the supervisor to change her approach, then a potential lawsuit may dissolve into nothing.
Recent case: Dianna Helton, who is white, worked at a racetrack and casino handling cash wagers. She complained to HR that her supervisor favored another employee, who is black, when assigning shifts. As a result, Helton said, she never got the most desirable schedules. She also said the supervisor had sent her sharply worded and highly critical e-mails on a regular basis—and that the criticism was being leveled against her because of her race.
The HR professional handling the complaint met with the supervisor and persuaded her to treat all subordinates with respect. Shortly after, Helton got the schedule she wanted.
But then, after a cash shortage was discovered, the rumor mill pointed toward Helton. She quit because she believed her supervisor was blaming her for the loss. Eventually, Helton was exonerated.
Then she sued, alleging race discrimination and harassment.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Helton’s lawsuit, reasoning that nothing she experienced was offensive enough to create a racially hostile environment. Plus, after she complained, she got her preferred schedule. (Helton v. Southland Racing Corporation, No. 09-1674, 8th Cir., 2010)
Final note: One of the three circuit court judges dissented, saying Helton might still have a case: Being falsely accused of theft could have been retaliation for complaining. Helton can appeal.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/11610/use-proactive-measures-to-stop-bias-lawsuits "
- Employees don't have to use ineffective grievance process
- Employee should have given firm a chance to stop harassment
- Expectant and new moms get help from co-worker 'buddies'
- Minor malady could hinder performance? Always look for easy accommodations
- After hours: How to regulate employees' off-duty behavior