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Conduct truly independent investigations to ferret out retaliation by rogue supervisors

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Staub v. Proctor Hospital decision slammed supervisors who lob­bied to get a subordinate fired for discriminatory reasons. The court essentially said that employers are liable for the discrimination perpetuated by supervisors unless they can show that, before accepting a supervisor’s termination recommendation, they conducted an independent investigation.

The take-away for most HR professionals: As long as an employer doesn’t merely rubber-stamp a supervisor’s recommendation (that might have been based on prejudice or the desire to retaliate against the subordinate), it could fire the subordinate without liability.

But that’s just a shorthand way to describe the idea of an independent investigation. There’s more to it than that, as the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals recently demonstrated.

Employers that don’t conduct a truly independent investigation—including allowing the subordinat...(register to read more)

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