You probably know you must document all disciplinary actions. Take that a step further by categorizing the discipline.
Recent case: Tyrone, who is black, was a concierge at a Philadelphia condominium. He didn’t get along with another concierge and often got into shouting matches. Residents complained, and Tyrone was fired after one particularly heated argument with the co-worker.
He sued for sex discrimination, alleging that two other concierges, who happened to be women, had poor attendance records yet hadn’t been fired. Tyrone pointed out to the court that he had a perfect attendance record.
The court said that didn’t matter and quickly dismissed his case. (White v. Planned Security, et al., No. 11-4622, 3rd Cir., 2012)
Note: The key was the condo’s differentiation between two different reasons for discipline: poor attendance and causing loud disruptions.
- Document all internal bias complaints to head off possible retaliation lawsuits
- Don't 'get tough' on certain staff; tie punishment to crime
- It's just putting off the inevitable: Don't let management shrug off hostile work environment
- Forcing a resignation kills your legal defense
- Want to 'fire' your way out of problems with troublesome employees? Think again