When investigating supervisor sexual harassment claims, you must conduct a fair workplace investigation, not a criminal probe. As long as the investigation was fair and the conclusion was reasonable, courts won’t interfere.
Recent case: Richard Byrd, who is black, was a supervisor with Merrill Lynch until he was fired for sexual harassment. Several black female subordinates claimed that Byrd treated them with disrespect and demanded sexual favors. The company investigated and believed the subordinates.
Byrd sued, claiming that the company was wrong and that the subordinates conspired to get rid of him because he was friends with a white woman.
The court dismissed the case, concluding that Merrill Lynch acted appropriately, regardless of what really happened. (Byrd v. Merrill Lynch, No. 10-0247, DC NJ, 2011)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Mentioning pregnancy during discipline doesn't prove bias
- Revise your overly complex employee review methods
- No separate emotional distress claims if conduct is covered by IHRA
- When discrimination is at issue, manager's race alone doesn't imply prejudice