Make sure you set one standard for determining how late “tardy“ is and how it’s measured. The best bet: Use a time clock.
Recent case: Silver, who is black, worked as a corrections officer. She sued after being fired for alleged tardiness. She told the court that white supervisors let white officers arrive late by always using a “slow” official clock to time their arrival, but used their own “fast” watches to mark black officers late.
The court said if that proves true, Silver has a case. (Black v. Community Education Centers, No. 13-6102, ED PA, 2014)
Final note: Before taking final action, get the employee’s side of the story. If the employer had checked the timekeeping methods, they could have set up an official and fair system going forward. That’s much more sensible than a potential lawsuit.