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Document efforts to help employee improve

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Nothing makes an employer look better in court than clear proof that it tried to help a struggling employee improve her performance. That’s why you should keep track of those efforts.

Recent case: Administrative assistant Bereatha Kyle-Eiland was placed on a performance improvement plan. She was eventually fired when her work didn’t improve.

Kyle-Eiland, who is black, sued, alleging race bias. She claimed her employer used poor work as an excuse to discriminate.

But the supervisor showed the court he tried to help Kyle-Eiland improve, providing software training and getting more experienced employees to assist her.

The court said there was no evidence of discriminatory intent—especially given the training opportunities Kyle-Eiland received. (Kyle-Eiland v. Neff, et al., No. 09-3965, 6th Cir., 2011)

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