Here’s a good reason to be careful about disciplining employees right after they complain about possible discrimination: A court may view the timing as so suspicious that it won’t toss out the case early.
Then it will be up to you to prove the complaint and discipline weren’t related.
Recent case: Meslu Tewold, who is a native of Eritrea, suspected his immediate warehouse supervisor was prejudiced against him. He went to HR to complain about being passed over for a promotion.
The next day, his supervisor issued a formal warning about Tewold’s productivity. Until that day, he had never been written up. When more discipline followed, Tewold sued for discrimination.
The timing was enough for the court to decide the case warranted a trial. (Tewold v. Owens & Minor, No. 07-4075, DC MN, 2009)
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