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Document every pay decision

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in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

When you decide to give employees a pay raise—or deny them one—always document the reason. The key is contemporaneous, logical explanations. Few employees will succeed in proving that your reasonable rationale is really a pretext for some form of discrimination.

Recent case: Nancy Valentine, who is black, worked as a coder in a medical practice. She was fired following a shouting match with her supervisor. Valentine sued for discrimination, alleging she had been denied a performance evaluation and hadn’t received a raise.

The practice said she wasn’t reviewed because she hadn’t worked for a full year, and that she wasn’t considered for a raise because she already earned more than any other employee, including her supervisor. The court tossed out Valentine’s case, saying there was no evidence that her race was the reason she hadn’t been evaluated or given a raise. (Valentine v. West Shore Primary Care, No. 89999, Court of Appeals of Ohio, 2008)

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