Lisa Russell was rated "excellent" and received a bonus of $807. So what's her gripe? An African-American co-worker received a higher rating of "outstanding" and a bonus of $1,355. Russell, who is white, sued, claiming reverse discrimination.
The D.C. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to throw out her lawsuit, saying the loss of a bonus worth hundreds of dollars can be considered an adverse employment action under Title VII.
Courts have said that not everything that makes an employee unhappy can be illegal under Title VII, andare unlikely to qualify unless they directly affect the terms, conditions or privileges of a worker's employment.
The D.C. Circuit, however, saw the bonus as more than a reward for good work and decided the loss of hundreds of dollars could qualify as discrimination. (Russell v. Principi, 00-5172, D.C. Cir., 2001)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- When dealing with sexual harassment, fix the problem once and for all
- TV station employee ordered to return stolen information
- Don't hand out authority without giving training to match
- Must we allow (or stop) Bible study at work?