You can’t just shrug off co-worker conflicts. Instead, carefully document the problem just in case an employee sues. You’ll be able to show that personality, not discrimination, is the reason for an employee’s problems.
Recent case: Dozie Chukwuka, a black engineer, had trouble getting along with his supervisors. One of them documented the efforts he made to get Chukwuka to meet deadlines. Chukwuka responded to each criticism by accusing his supervisor of professional jealousy.
Eventually, he sued when he didn’t get a promotion he believed he deserved. He alleged race discrimination.
But the court said the problem wasn’t race discrimination—the problem was Chukwuka’s personality and generally poor work. The court dismissed his case. (Chukwuka v. City of New York, No. 08-CV-2095, ED NY, 2010)
- Fair harassment investigation can justify firing supervisor
- Good records win lawsuits: When disciplining, be as specific as possible
- Growing threat: Employees use 'Section 1981' to sue for race bias
- Calling your employment attorney: When it's needed, when it's not
- Supreme Court outlook: 4 key employment cases to watch