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Firing a boss who’s racially insensitive? You can cite ‘poor performance’ as reason

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in Compensation and Benefits,Firing,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Quite often, discrimination simmers in the workplace until it suddenly boils over. When that happens, it’s likely that only a lawsuit can clear the air.

But in the aftermath, it often becomes apparent that managers who were supposed to prevent discrimination weren’t doing an effective job. For the good of the company, it’s sometimes necessary to fire those bosses for tolerating discrimination or harassment. And those managers will probably sue, too.

Good news: You can cite their attitudes to show they weren’t performing their jobs to your reasonable expectations.

Recent case: Panda Allia, who is white, worked as an HR manager for Target. On her watch, black employees complained to the EEOC about discrimination. The case was eventually settled.

Target transferred Allia to another location, but eventually fired her for poor performance.

Among the deficiencies her supervisors found was an apparent insensitivity to racial issues. Workers complained that on one occasion, she incorrectly identified a black man on a poster as Martin Luther King Jr.; it was actually rapper Biggie Smalls.

She sued, alleging she was the victim of a witch hunt to eliminate white personnel.

But the court said Allia was terminated for poor performance and had no evidence showing another motivation. Plus, she was replaced by another white woman, casting doubt on her belief that Target was trying to create jobs for blacks at her expense. (Allia v. Target, No. 07-4130, DC NJ, 2010)

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