It’s a good idea to track the age, race, religion, sex or other characteristics of employees you discipline. Being able to see, at a glance, a potentially discriminatory pattern can help you make a midcourse correction.
Another plus: If you don’t see a discernible pattern, you easily can refute discrimination claims based on alleged favoritism.
By tracking disciplinary matters according to employees’ characteristics, you can check against your organization’s demographics. If things seem out of whack, find out why.
The payoff: Not only can you nip lawsuits in the bud, but also you’ll earn points for actively creating a diverse, nondiscriminatory workplace if you do end up in court.
Recent case: About two months after the 9/11 attacks, Golder Associates fired a Muslim engineer of Iranian descent. Hamid Bojd sued for religious and national-origin discrimination.
But his employer told a different story. Bojd’s boss reportedly “couldn’t stand” him and simply wanted the engineer out because they couldn’t get along.
That wasn’t the first time the same boss discharged subordinates, yet company figures showed no pattern to those . In fact, they ran the gamut from Hispanic Catholics to Lebanese Christians, and from Chinese with no religious affiliation to whites of unknown national origin.
The 11th Circuit dismissed the case, reasoning that Golder fired Bojd because, like so many others, he didn’t get along with the boss. (Bojd v. Golder Associates, No. 06-12209, 11th Cir., 2006)