Sometimes, when investigating serious charges against an employee, it’s best to temporarily suspend him. If you use this approach, always do so uniformly and apply the same rules to similarly situated workers. Don’t, for example, suspend some with pay and others without.
Recent case: Benjamin, who is black, worked for a school district. When a license became necessary, Benjamin’s was held up by an investigation of potential wrongdoing. The allegations proved unfounded and he got the license.
The school district, however, wanted to conduct its own independent investigation and suspended him without pay for months.
Benjamin sued, alleging discrimination. He showed that white and female employees were almost always suspended with pay during investigations. A court said that was enough to warrant a trial. (Johnson v. Alice Independent School District, No. C-12-170, SD TX, 2012)
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- Michigan's Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act covers reverse discrimination, too