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Use exit interviews to identify patterns of supervisor’s hidden discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

Do you suspect a rogue supervisor is driving away employees belonging to a protected class? If so, begin asking tougher questions during your exit interviews.

For example, if several black employees who work under the same supervisor have quit or requested transfers, find out why. The problem may be a biased supervisor who is pushing away good employees—and setting up the company for a lawsuit.

Recent case: Marilyn Hayden, who is black, worked for Loyola University Medical Center for nearly 27 years without receiving a single reprimand. When she and two other black registration specialists got a new white supervisor, things changed—and not for the better.

Before long, Hayden’s black co-workers were gone and she received her first reprimand for allegedly not meeting her daily registration numbers. When the pressure mounted and the supervisor continued to push her with phone calls and special meetings to discuss work problems throughout the day, Hayden quit.

She explained later that she felt she was being set up for failure, as her supervisor’s constant calls and flood of e-mails requiring immediate attention kept her from getting her work done.

Hayden sued, alleging racial discrimination.

The court said her case could go forward. That means she will have a chance to prove that her white supervisor pushed her black co-workers out, and forced Hayden to quit before she was fired. (Hayden v. Loyola University Medical Center, No. 10-C-3825, ND IL, 2010)

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