You never know which fired employee will sue. That’s why it’s important to make sure every disciplinary decision is based on solid business reasons.
Equally important is backing up those reasons with contemporary documentation.
You may even want to create an internal disciplinary checklist to ensure managers and supervisors know how to document discipline. For example, have them identify the rules that the employee broke and outline the facts supporting the conclusion that the employee did break the rule.
That way, you can rest easy knowing you always have a paper trail—just in case the employee decides to sue.
Recent case: Ganesh emigrated from Guyana at age 10. He worked for the Long Island Railroad until he was fired for alleged harassment.
Ganesh sued, alleging he had been denied a promotion and then fired because of his race.
But the railroad had documentation showing why it had not promoted Ganesh, including records showing he had previously been disciplined, which disqualified him for promotion. Plus, the railroad had other records explaining the facts behind the harassment allegations that culminated in Ganesh’s termination.
Ganesh didn’t offer any evidence of his own that either his race or his national origin figured in either the promotion or the discharge decisions.
Because the railroad had kept good records and could readily explain its disciplinary process both generally and specifically in Ganesh’s case, the litigation was quickly dismissed. (Jagmohan v. Long Island Railroad, No. 14-3801, 2nd Cir., 2015)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- EEOC: Popeye's franchise wouldn't hire older veterans
- Isolated, subjective incident doesn't justify bias lawsuit
- Minnetonka banker beats arson rap, settles harassment lawsuit
- Violence on the job? OK to base punishment on job classification and severity of offense