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Four Key Concepts Keep You Out of Court 05-08-2008
- By Rita Risser, attorney at law

Two cases in the past month remind us that discrimination and retaliation are easy for employees to prove when managers don't document correctly.

In one case, a long-term employee claimed he was discharged because he married a woman of another race. In the other case, a long-term employee sued because he was fired after his fiancee filed an EEOC claim against the company. In both cases, the U. S. Courts of Appeals held the employees had the right to sue for discrimination or retaliation. In other words, the companies lost (the first round, anyway).

But neither company would have lost if it had documentation proving the bad performance of the employees. Now, maybe both of these companies were guilty. But if you take management actions that adversely impact employees, and can't prove your legitimate business reasons for them, you, too, could be sued and lose.

If your company is considering anything from rescinding offer letters to layoffs to hiring freezes, legal counsel needs to be involved. Managers must call the experts in-house and document their legitimate business reasons for their decisions. If employees are treated consistently and fairly, there is little chance of suit, and if you are sued, you'll win.

Do you recognize the Four Key Concepts above? Be consistent, have legitimate business reasons, document, and call the experts.

 

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.
 
 
     
 
 
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