The former head of security at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens has filed a lawsuit claiming the institution discriminates against blacks, and that he was fired in part because of his age.
Anthony Quarless, 47, says racism is at the heart of many of the garden’s employment practices. His lawsuit claims he was pressured to hire a white applicant as his assistant instead of a better-qualified black applicant.
He also claims he was only allowed to investigate incidents involving minority workers, and that black employees were punished more harshly than white workers for similar infractions. For example, he alleges that a white employee was merely suspended for stealing coins from a fountain, while a black employee caught stealing from the gift shop was fired, arrested and marched through the lobby in handcuffs.
Quarless contacted the EEOC in October 2009 and was terminated from his position in July 2010.
Advice: Your discipline system must punish employees uniformly. While the amount involved may explain the difference in treatment in the example Quarless raises, employers need to be sensitive to potential discrimination charges. Every disciplinary action should be viewed through the prism of other disciplinary actions the employer has taken.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- How to get the most from your exit interviews
- Track discipline to ensure equal treatment for equal offenses, regardless of protected class
- Beware boss who undermines anti-harassment rules
- Be ready to justify different punishment for like offenses