Check for subordinate bias before disciplining boss

Here’s a problem you may not see coming: A group of employees comes forward and complains about a supervisor’s management skills. You decide to take action and demote the supervisor.

Before you act, check for potential bias if the supervisor is of a different ethnicity, race or other protected classification than the subordinates.

Recent case: Deborah Dear, who is black, worked for the Veterans Administration as a nurse manager until several subordinates threatened to quit because of her management skills.

The VA demoted Dear and she sued, alleging race discrimination, because all the complaining subordinates are white.
But the court, pointing out that the supervisor who demoted Dear is also black, rejected her complaint. (Dear v. Shinseki, No. 08-3728, 7th Cir., 2009)