Don't assume that only minorities have a right to sue you for workplace race discrimination. White employees also are entitled to work in an environment free of racial bias, and they can challenge hiring practices that interfere with that right.
In some circumstances, white employees who quit in disgust over the company's anti-minority actions can come back and sue even though they weren't personally harmed by the discrimination.
Recent case: Michelle Mouser was a white HR rep at John Wieland Homes' corporate headquarters. She quit in frustration, saying the builder insisted she hire only white employees for the company's new housing developments, which allegedly catered to white buyers.
She complained to the EEOC, which began an extensive investigation into Wieland's practices. The company asked the court to dismiss the case, saying it never discriminated against Mouser.
But the court allowed the case to proceed, reasoning that even white employees are entitled to a discrimination-free environment. Mouser wasn't suing over personal discrimination but her right to work where blacks didn't suffer discrimination. (EEOC v. John Wieland Homes, ND GA, 2006)
Tip: Don't assume this concept applies only to race discrimination. Conceivably, all employees have a right to a workplace free of sex discrimination or bias against the disabled, for instance.
- Don't fear shifting to 'Get-Tough' reviews, but be consistent
- 'Just right' leadership; cell-phone diets; no more 'Mr. Boss'
- Ensuring the confidentiality of HR info
- Document why you fired worker, even in cases where rationale seems crystal clear
- Anti-harassment policy, training are meaningless if supervisors decide to ignore them