When you evaluate whether a former employee may sue you successfully over her discharge, consider this: If you replaced her with someone belonging to the same protected class, she’ll have a hard time winning a lawsuit that claims you were biased against her class.
Recent case: Maria, a 57-year-old Hispanic woman, was fired for disruptive behavior at work. She sued, alleging national-origin, sex and age discrimination.
But the employer showed that it replaced her with another Hispanic woman who was also over age 40. Plus, most of her co-workers were older Hispanic women. The case was dismissed. (Vasquez v. Nueces County, No. 13-40453, 5th Cir., 2013)
Final note: Of course, having a workforce made up largely of one subset of the labor pool may trigger other discrimination claims from, for example, men, blacks or other protected groups.
- Take every suit seriously--even those in which employee is acting as her own lawyer
- Harassment or love affair? Depends if it was welcome
- Add failure-to-hire claims to list of employment law issues involving internships
- Reduction in force? Make sure severance packages are equitable for similar employees
- It's important to track discipline by type and degree