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
- Gov't agencies: Time to rethink residency requirements?
- Demanding lie detector test isn't necessarily retaliation
- Investigate all allegations of harassment, even those made by poor performers
- Be patient and scrupulously fair when dealing with litigious employee who has complained