Here’s a case that shows how not to handle a discharge based on alleged wrongdoing on the part of a supervisor and his subordinate.
Recent case: Mark Rodgers, who is black, worked as a maintenance supervisor. The only black employee in his work group, he worked closely with his white supervisor.
Higher-ups confronted Rodgers and his boss for a series of violations, including allowing an employee to take equipment home for personal use and letting them take informal comp time after working off the clock. But while Rodgers was fired, his supervisor was merely demoted to a grounds crew position. Rodgers sued.
The court said the supervisor was the most obvious comparator and that it was clear that he had been punished far less severely than Rodgers. It upheld Rodgers’ lawsuit. (Rodgers v. White, No. 10-3916, 7th Cir., 2011)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Prepare to make clear-cut case before firing public employee working on contract
- Warn managers: Zero tolerance for any kind of age-related harassment
- Supreme Court rules on third-party retaliation: Relatives protected
- When discrimination charges are possible, investigate thoroughly before firing