Sometimes, a supervisor harbors prejudices that aren’t obvious. Always investigate before firing an employee who claims she’s in trouble because of her boss’s biases. If others agree there is a problem, you had better pay attention.
Recent case: Yolanda, who is black, worked for the Hershey Co., the candy maker. She was fired, allegedly for improperly accounting for her time with a hand-held device. Before being disciplined, Yolanda complained that she merely used the device the way her boss told her to. She accused him of setting her up for termination because of her race.
Yolanda sued. Other workers testified that they had heard the supervisor say he had “too many blacks on his sales team,” and tell black employees to use the device just as Yolanda had. The court said that was enough to move the case forward. (Turner v. Hershey, No. 4:12-cv-03365, SC TX, 2014)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Doesn't matter that he didn't put a ring on it! Engagement unnecessary for retaliation
- If pay varies widely, document rationale for disparity
- 'Cold shoulder' doesn't add up to retaliation
- When employees foul up, feel free to tailor your response to fit the circumstances