Unless an employee has ahistory, don’t fire him a few days after he reports harassment.
Recent case: Howard Harris worked for a construction firm at various locations under different supervisors. He had no disciplinary or.
Then he claimed that one foreman sexually harassed him, suggesting the two have sex. Harris complained. Following an investigation, the foreman admitted discussing sex, but denied trying to seduce Harris.
But he also toldthat Harris was a poor performer. Other supervisors agreed. On the day that the company announced there had been no harassment, it fired Harris for poor performance.
He sued and the court said the case should go to trial based on the sudden “discovery” of performance problems after the harassment complaint. (Harris v. Railroad Construction, No. 09-1206, DC NJ, 2010)
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- Put limits on supervisors' 'power-differentiated' relationships
- Use progressive discipline—or prepare to pay unemployment even if conduct was outrageous
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- Adjust internal pay scales to end sex bias