Retain supervisors’ notes, just in case discrimination rears head years later — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Retain supervisors’ notes, just in case discrimination rears head years later

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Managers often don’t realize how important it is to keep notes and other records for a long time, even after an employee has quit.

Remind them that employees have up to three years to sue under the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA). That means that by the time the lawsuit is filed, witnesses, supervisors and other employees may have left the organization. And that makes it hard to defend a case. It’s highly unlikely that anyone will be able to recall details about a possibly discriminatory incident that happened years ago—unless you have retained relevant notes and documents.

Advice: When a manager or supervisor is preparing to move on, ask him or her to turn over any notes or informal records about subordinate employees. And get a forwarding address and phone number, just in case.

Recent case: Danetta Simpson worked for ManorCare Health Care Services for just a few days in September 2002. Later, she would claim that she was fired because she was pregnant and that her termination notice actually mentioned her pregnancy, with the notation, “Ms. Simpson was visibly pregnant on 9-10-02 …. Termination at this time. Will consider rehire after 1-03.”

But Simpson didn’t file her ELCRA lawsuit until more than three years later, effectively putting her out of court. That was a good thing for ManorCare, since it sounds like the case might have been a slam-dunk for Simpson. (Simpson v. ManorCare Health Services, No. 06-12623, ED MI, 2008)

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