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Conduct truly independent investigations to ferret out retaliation by rogue supervisors

by on
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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