The fear of being sued became a self-fulfilling prophecy for Collin De Rham and his wife after they fired the nanny who cared for their young child. De Rham, a screenwriter for the hit cable series “Mad Men,” let go of the nanny after learning from a temporary agency that the woman had sued her previous employer over alleged racial discrimination.
You’ll never guess what happened! The nanny has now filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against the De Rhams, seeking $30,000 in damages. She claims her termination caused “severe and lasting embarrassment.”
Note: Giving a litigious employee a reason to sue you—by pre-emptively firing her, for example—is like holding a match to a gasoline can. The result is predictable and painful.
Instead, document every decision you make concerning the employee’s performance. (And do the same for all your employees.) Periodically review your actions to look for anything that could conceivably prompt someone to sue you for discrimination or harassment.
- Make sure all medical tests you require are truly job-related and necessary
- EEOC rewriting rules on retiree health benefits
- Cover retaliation in all supervisory training
- Will your decisions hold up in court? Be prepared to explain apparent contradictions
- Erratic attendance can disqualify employee from ADA protection