In employment law, the adage that two wrongs don’t make a right is true. Don’t make the mistake an employer recently made when a supervisor apparently favored members of his religion in hiring. It terminated them without providing a legitimate, performance-related reason.
Recent case: Nefi is of Mexican national origins, a legal immigrant and a member of the Mormon Church. He was friends with a supervisor at Willmar Municipal Services and attended Mormon church services with the supervisor. When Willmar needed to hire a coal handler, Nefi applied.
He was eventually hired even though several members of the hiring committee didn’t think he was the best qualified.
They later said they only agreed to hire Nefi after pressure from the supervisor.
Apparently the supervisor had encouraged hiring several other Mormons. All, including the supervisor and Nefi, were eventually discharged for various allegedly performance-related problems.
Nefi sued, alleging discrimination based on his religion or national origin.
He pointed out that he had been questioned about his immigration status several times, and that no one else but Mormons were terminated.
That was enough for the court to conclude he could take his case to court. (Ibarra v. City of Willmar, et al., No. 12-3027, DC MN, 2014)
Final note: The numbers looked bad in this case. The employer fired every Mormon, perhaps in an overreaction to their hiring. But the Mormons had been doing their jobs, making the move suspect.
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- If you can't say anything nice ... Comments about pregnancy are never wise
- Cull interview lists to ensure you include the most-qualified candidates
- When disciplining older worker, be sure to document all examples of poor performance
- Be alert for hidden--or overt--bias when hiring manager rejects qualified candidate