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Easy way to head off discrimination suits: Have manager who hired also do the firing

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Here’s a good practice that may limit lots of lawsuits following terminations: If possible, make sure the same person who hired a worker also fires him.

That makes it more difficult for an employee to argue he was fired for discriminatory reasons. After all, why would a prejudiced supervisor hire someone knowing he or she belongs to a protected class?

Recent case: Ciro is a white, Italian-American male. He was hired as an engineer at the Medgar Evers College at the City University of New York. The supervisor who made the hiring decision is black, as is the HR director.

Two years later, the college terminated Ciro. The black supervisor made the decision because Ciro’s engineering license had expired, and having one was a job requirement.

Ciro sued, alleging race discrimination.

He didn’t get far when the college pointed out that the same supervisor who fired Ciro also hired him. Absent obvious evidence of race discrimination, the court presumed that no one hires someone knowing his race and then turns around and fired that person because of his race. The case was dismissed. (Dellaporte v. City University of New York, et al., No. 12 Civ. 7043, SD NY, 2014)

Final note: The college also had a solid, legitimate reason for discharging Ciro—his engineering license had expired and one was required for the job. A good, neutral reason for discharge helps show that the employer is honest and reasonable.

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