Illinois postal worker Mary Greene sued for sex discrimination, claiming her supervisor gave coveted overtime hours to male friends, but not to her. The evidence in court, however, showed that the supervisor passed over males and females equally. So the court dismissed the case, concluding that unfair doesn’t always equal illegal. (Greene v. Potter, 7th Cir.)
Lesson: Every employer’s goal should be to manage employees in a manner that’s blind to race, sex, age and disability. That doesn’t always happen. But it’s important to realize that it’s only when unfairness harms members of a protected class that the practice is illegal. That’s a vital concept to consider when employees complain to HR about a supervisor.