The mantra in real estate is “location, location, location.” But the mantra in employee discipline must always be “consistency, consistency, consistency.”
Supervisors must dole out discipline in equal amounts for equal behaviors. Trying to “get tough” on one worker or “set an example” with another will only trigger discrimination complaints and lawsuits.
Case in point: A prison guard uttered the “n” word twice in a conversation about racial tension at the prison. Her supervisor wrote her up as violating a work rule against using racial slurs and epithets. As a result, she was demoted.
The guard sued for sex discrimination, alleging that male guards who used the terms “wetback” for a Hispanic prisoner and “wood” for a white prisoner were not punished. A jury sided with her, concluding that she’d been treated more severely because of her gender. (Moss v. Texas Department of Corrections)
- Be consistent: Don't slap harasser on wrist, then fire victim
- Let 'em know: Post all promotion opportunities
- Employee refuses to follow instructions? Courts won't second-guess disciplinary decisions
- Some Sundays off doesn't require giving every Sunday off
- Include complainer's actions in sexual harassment investigation