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Beware sudden scrutiny after employee voices bias concerns

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Have an adequate but not outstanding employee? Be careful if he engages in some form of protected activity. Sud­denly deciding he’s not good enough may spark a retaliation lawsuit.

Recent case: Robert, a college graphic design instructor, received good but not great re­views. Then, while chairing a hiring committee, he complained about gender bias in the hiring process. Soon, following a negative review, he found his contract wouldn’t be renewed.

He sued, alleging retaliation. The college insisted he simply wasn’t a good enough instructor.

The court said a jury should decide whether that was true, based on past reviews, or whether he was a victim of retaliation. (Meyers v. California University of Pennsylvania, No. 2:12-cv-1258, WD PA, 2014)

Final note: Carefully build the case for termination when performance is an issue. Warn that you expect improvement and provide specifics.

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