How often have you worried about disciplining the only employee who belongs to a particular protected class? You probably feared that the employee would sue, alleging bias.
Relax. Being the only black … or Asian … or female employee doesn’t confer any particular advantage in a discrimination lawsuit. The employee she still has to prove that the discipline was related to the protected status.
Recent case: Elizabeth worked in HR and earned steady promotions. She was the only Asian in the department. When a new supervisor arrived on the scene, Elizabeth’sprogressively grew worse and eventually she was demoted to file clerk.
Elizabeth sued, alleging race and national-origin discrimination.
But the court said she had no evidence her status caused her demotion. Being the only Asian wasn’t enough. (Tsang-Adler v. City of New York, No. 12-CV-394, ED NY, 2013)
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- Set up standard process for responding to accommodations requests--and use it every time
- It's just putting off the inevitable: Don't let management shrug off hostile work environment
- Beware firing for forwarding emails that might support retaliation claim
- React fast, firmly to harassment; courts will reward your judgment