When a supervisor expresses clear illegal bias, fire her. Otherwise, her attitude may taint any subsequent termination decisions involving members of the protected class the manager harbors resentment about.
Recent case: Fredda earned praise for her work at Victoria’s Secret. But when she gave birth to a child, her relationships with her managers grew chilly. When one of Fredda’s bosses complained to HR that Fredda seemed preoccupied, took too much time off for child care and might be “hormonal,” those comments were ignored.
A few days later, the company had a reduction in force that included Fredda. She sued, alleging sex discrimination.
The court said she had a case, even though ostensibly financial reasons lay behind the RIF. The manager’s possible anti-parent bias might have tainted the decision. (Malena v. Victoria’s Secret, No. 09-CIV-5949, SD NY, 2013)
- Workplace tiff doesn't mean workplace was necessarily a hostile environment
- Disability isn't a free pass to insubordination; enforce behavior rules with all employees
- Not all offensive conduct creates liability
- ACLU, TSA settle case of HIV-positive applicant
- Fire blatant rule-breakers--even 'top producers'