When an employee hires an attorney, you can bet that the lawyer will go looking for as many legal claims as possible. And high on the list of possible claims are wage-and-hour matters. That’s how something as simple as an unemployment compensation consultation can wind up turning into a major lawsuit.
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Approximately 250 taxi drivers have filed EEOC discrimination and retaliation complaints against Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, alleging racial and religious bias. The cabbies, most of who are of Middle Eastern origin, allege that an airport manager referred to them as animals and called the taxi queue the “Central Zoo.”
Here’s a tip if you are revising your employee handbook: When it comes to discipline, make sure you give yourself some flexibility to deal with unusual circumstances. For example, if you want to use progressive discipline, be sure to account for the rare situations that may warrant immediate suspension or discharge.
Here’s a tip that can save you from a nasty retaliation lawsuit following the transfer of an employee who has claimed sexual harassment. If she’s the one requesting the move, be sure to document that request very carefully. She may later claim that the transfer was retaliation for complaining.
It happens: A supervisor wants to discipline an employee, but HR or upper management nixes the idea because it knows something the boss doesn’t. Perhaps the employee had suffered discrimination in the past and was placed in a new position for a fresh start. Be prepared for legal fallout if you wind up disciplining the supervisor.
Eventually, your organization will be blindsided by a discrimination lawsuit that seems to come out of nowhere. In fact, it may hit years after the alleged bias occurred. That means you may long ago have discarded the documents that could clear the company. But courts are growing impatient with employees who launch such sneak attacks, as this recent 11th Circuit decision shows.