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Employ ‘Casual’ Workers? Stem Discrimination Lawsuits by Tracking Assignments You Offer

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

If you regularly hire “casual” workers for short assignments, it’s a good idea to keep careful track of the assignments you offer. You should monitor and record how many assignments each worker accepts and rejects.

If you eventually remove someone from your available pool list and then get sued for discrimination, you’ll have concrete evidence to show the real reason you dropped the worker.

Recent case: Lucille Kelly, age 69, worked as a substitute teacher for the Humble Independent School District. The school district uses an automated system to call registered substitute teachers with possible assignments. The teachers can accept or reject each individual assignment.

When Kelly filed for unemployment benefits, the school district reviewed its records. It discovered that Kelly routinely turned down assignments. It sent her a letter explaining that it was removing her from the sub list.

Kelly sued, alleging age discrimination under the Texas Labor Code. But her case was dismissed after the school district showed how many assignments Kelly rejected. The court decided that consistently declining assignments was a legitimate reason for the school district to drop Kelly from its substitute list. (Kelly v. Humble Independent School District, 01-05-00761, Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, 2007)  

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