Where should you focus if an employee is both difficult to get along with and doesn’t perform as well as she should? It’s actually an easy call. Avoid a potentially successful lawsuit by focusing onrather than demeanor or other subjective problems.
Recent case: Dr. Joanne Williams, who is black, worked as an emergency room physician. Almost immediately, her supervisor got complaints from residents and other doctors that Williams was loud, rude and generally disagreeable.
They also said her clinical skills were lacking.
Williams’ supervisor chose to focus on her clinical skills and began reviewing her patient-care records. Although he later also described her as a “drama queen” who was loud and “spoke with her hands,” he kept the emphasis on medical care.
Eventually, Williams was transferred out of the ER to an academic setting. She received the same pay and the same benefits as before. She sued, alleging race discrimination.
Williams argued that her mannerisms were somehow connected to her race and that criticizing them was akin to demanding she abide by stereotypes of how black professionals should act.
She claimed her treatment was akin to a law firm that told a female attorney that she didn’t make partner because she didn’t dress the part and needed to go to “charm school.” In that case, the attorney won her case because she was being measured against a stereotype of how a woman should act at work.
The court didn’t buy Williams’ argument, pointing out that the focus had always been on her clinical abilities and not her mode of expression. It said describing her as a “drama queen” had nothing to do with racial stereotyping (Williams v. County of Los Angeles, No. B226750, Court of Appeal of California, 2nd Appellate District, 2012)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/30672/problem-employee-both-brash-and-unskilled-focus-on-performance-issues-when-disciplining "