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Remind supervisors to track all bias complaints

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Employees who are disciplined may claim they were punished for reporting alleged discrimination or harassment. But employers that can show that there was no such report will get the case tossed out.

That’s why it’s important for all supervisors and managers to routinely document all discrimination complaints.

Recent case: Terry James, who is black, was fired for not paying for the food items he ate at the market where he worked.

He sued and claimed he had been fired just five days after complaining to a supervisor that other co-workers used racial slurs in his presence. Therefore, he argued, he had been fired for reporting racial harassment.

The court heard the employer’s testimony about its complaint process and learned that none of James’ supervisors had received any slur complaints. It dismissed the case. (James v. Fiesta Food Mart, No. 10-10107, 5th Cir., 2010)

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