Smart employers have policies that require supervisors to document all discipline. That documentation can come in handy if a discharged employee decides to sue. The fact is, employers usually win lawsuits if they show they had a legitimate reason for an employment decision. Good records make that easy.
Recent case: Saonarah was fired from her job at a correctional facility and sued, alleging disability discrimination and retaliation for requesting an accommodation and reporting sexual harassment.
She lost the case after her former employer showed the court Saonarah was terminated for leaving an inmate’s cell door unlocked and bringing a cellphone into the facility against employer policy. She had nothing else indicating that the underlying reason was not the real reason she was fired—just a hunch. That’s not good enough to win. (Jeudy v. Attorney General, Department of Justice, No. 11-15838, 11th Cir., 2012)
- Protect against bias allegations: Involve hiring manager in any termination decision
- When whistle-Blowing is involved, discharge reasons must be rock-Solid
- Can USERRA form the basis of a harassment suit?
- Don't rely on broad diagnosis: Assess disability individually
- Shine a light on SAD, ADA accommodations and the FMLA