Equitable discipline policy staves off surprise lawsuits

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The best defense against any sort of discrimination claim is to treat every employee the same.

Recent case: Tawanna identifies herself as gay. She was fired from her job as a van driver after going absent for three weeks. Why couldn’t she come to work? She was incarcerated at the time.

She sued, alleging she had really been terminated because of her sexual orientation.

But Tawanna’s supervisor, who initiated the termination, didn’t know she was homosexual. What’s more, his hands were tied; policy required him to discipline everyone who missed work. The employer’s records showed that other employees who were not gay also lost their jobs under the policy.

That was enough to get the case dismissed. (Young v. Illinois Human Rights Commission, et al., No. 1-11-2204, Appellate Court of Illinois, 2012)

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