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Good faith is the key to litigation-Proof employment decisions

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in Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Maternity Leave Laws

Employment decisions don’t have to be perfect—they just have to be based on good faith. That’s good news because it’s a fact that supervisors and managers will make mistakes.

What that means:
Just because an employee can prove management did something wrong doesn’t guarantee she will win a lawsuit.

Recent case: Geetha Sampath worked as a software supervisor in Immucor’s information systems department. She experienced pregnancy complications and had to take time off for bed rest.

When she was out on leave, the company conducted an annual audit that examined software applications systems. Sampath came in for a few hours and helped prepare an information summary. Later, Sampath’s supervisor claimed he became suspicious that the information the auditors received was incomplete. He assumed that was Sampath’s doing, since he believed she had prepared the summary.

The supervisor then fired Sampath. She sued, alleging pregnancy discrimination. She tried to show the court someone else had prepared the summary. In other words, she said the reason she was fired was, in fact, wrong.

The court threw out the case. It reasoned that what mattered was that Sampath’s supervisor believed in good faith that the incomplete summary was Sampath’s fault. Whether it was in fact her fault was immaterial. (Sampath v. Immucor, No. 05-15538, 11th Cir., 2008)

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