Poor performers who think they have been discriminated against when fired, demoted or otherwise disciplined can still win a lawsuit—if they can show that others outside their protected class were just as lousy but didn’t receive the same discipline.
Be ready to defend yourself with solid, carefully documented proof that shows you disciplined employees equally.
Recent case: Sammie Springs, who is black, worked for the Veterans Administration as a laundry plant manager. One of his major job responsibilities was to update the environmental services handbook and track his employees’ training. He submitted the handbook late and incomplete, and failed to turn all the tracking files. He was fired and he sued, alleging race discrimination.
But Springs couldn’t point to anyone else who performed so poorly without being fired. He lost. (Springs v. Nicholson, No. 5:06-CV-344, ED NC, 2008)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- The easiest way to win discrimination cases: Prove you treat everyone equally
- What are they drinking at the TABC?
- When handing out discipline, make punishment fit the crime
- Don't let supervisor punish employees who cooperate in investigation