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  1. #31

    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    Update: We talked to the higher-up to get the full story. Several months ago, the minority employee questioned a decision of the higher-up which the higher-up perceived as insubordination (incidentally, two of his white coworkers were also involved in the same insubordination incident but they were not given a subsequent mid-year evaluation or later terminated).

    The higher-up wanted to get rid of him but needed valid justification. The higher-up saw performance lapses and the minority employee was given a mid-year evaluation to shape up (with written feedback from the immediate supervisor and another manager). He was the only one to receive a mid-year evaluation, with no prior or subsequent written warning or documentation of feedback. There's no numerical scoring on a scale as with our annual performance review, no date, no mention of disciplinary consequences, no timeline and no signature from the supervisor, HR or any higher ups.

    The way it was executed was very sloppy. From the advice given here it appears that the company is at significant risk for a racial discrimination suit as by coincidence he happened to be the only minority in the department. It seems the minority employee's immediate supervisor was just as fearful of incurring their wrath and went along with it for fear of being disciplined for insubordination as well.

    For those whose suggestion is to terminate the higher-up, the higher-up has been with the company for less than a year (less time than the minority employee and immediate supervisor). The higher-up wasn't involved in hiring the minority employee. And isn't HR just as culpable in allowing this to proceed without adequate documentation and placing the company at legal risk?

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    There is no "by coincidence" here.

    None.

  3. #33

    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    Quote Quoting Dogmatique
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    There is no "by coincidence" here.

    None.
    Not so sure. Never heard the higher-up say anything racist. It was a personality conflict with one individual who happened to be the only non-white in the department.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    So three employees are guilty of the same action yet two white employees are not punished yet one minority employee is.

    You yourself have spelled it out for yourself; he wanted to fire the one guy, who happened to be a minority yet not only not fire the other two but to not even subject them to the same scrutiny and punishment. While I was not thoroughly convinced it was illegal discrimination before, with this new info there is simply no question it is.

    I think you really need to take the blinders off and dump the chump who may cost your company a small fortune.

    I have a suspicion you are the "higher up" employee. Not only are you ignoring what is right in front of your face you are now trying to lay the blame elsewhere. Why would anybody in a position of authority in a company continue to protect somebody that really really appears to have put your butt in a sling.

  5. #35

    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    Thank you for your feedback. Again, I don't know if the higher-up is racist as I've never heard the higher-up say racist things. It was a personality conflict with one individual who happened to be the only non-white employee in the department, coupled with a series of circumstantial actions that may lead the courts to infer racial discrimination as the prime motive and a lack of oversight by HR.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    Quote Quoting throwaway64759
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    Not so sure. Never heard the higher-up say anything racist. It was a personality conflict with one individual who happened to be the only non-white in the department.
    Seriously? A group of very knowledgeable people, some of whom work with HR issues every day, don't believe it's a coincidence. That same group of people is already warning you and trying to prepare you for what might be a devastating result.

    What are the chances of us all being wrong?

  7. #37
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    Oct 2014
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    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    Quote Quoting throwaway64759
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    Not so sure. Never heard the higher-up say anything racist. It was a personality conflict with one individual who happened to be the only non-white in the department.
    He might not be a “racist” (however you might define the term). Doesn’t matter. What does matter is that your posts clearly show that the minority employee was treated differently than the white employees who did the same thing and as a result of that differing treatment the minority employee is fired. That just screams illegal race discrimination. This upper level manager has created a situation in which he company may end up owing a large amount of damages as a result of, at best, being incredibly blind to the discriminatory nature of his actions. Companies can’t really afford to keep managers that are that clueless. Senior executives should know better than this.

  8. #38
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    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    With the facts you've presented, you will never in a million years get anyone to believe that this was not discrimination. Nor does your attempt to shift blame to HR lessen the company's liability one whit. I'm not going to go into the reasons why HR is likely not responsible because you're so far in denial, it would be a waste of time.

    You have heard from lawyers, experienced HR people, and lay people, all of whom have told you exactly the same thing; your employer is toast. You need your legal counsel involved. Take that advice or leave it but when your company ends up paying many, many thousands of dollars out and you as the immediate manager are out on the street without a job, just remember; you heard it here first.

  9. #39

    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    My instinct is that there would need to be proof of racial injustice in order for it to hold. Evidence would be lacking for the other side. There may be paperwork missing on our end internally, but fact of the matter is that you don't really need a reason to fire somebody in a company. You can basically just do it if they don't fit. Who cares if they're a minority? Still have to get along.

    I do not know of any legal ramifications of firing somebody because they don't fit the mold. So in order to go against that, the person making the accusation would have to prove that there were racial tensions - whether that be through eyewitness account or correspondence. Chances are they don't have any form of proof to push their case.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Termination of Protected Class Employee in At-Will State

    Quote Quoting throwaway64759
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    My instinct is that there would need to be proof of racial injustice in order for it to hold. Evidence would be lacking for the other side. There may be paperwork missing on our end internally, but fact of the matter is that you don't really need a reason to fire somebody in a company. You can basically just do it if they don't fit. Who cares if they're a minority? Still have to get along.
    Proof isn't a necessity. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck....the court can reasonably conclude it is a duck. Yes, you are allowed to fire someone for no real reason but not if it is in violation of anti-discrimination laws. The EEOC cares if it's a minority if they are treated differently than others, which is what happened here.

    Quote Quoting throwaway64759
    View Post
    I do not know of any legal ramifications of firing somebody because they don't fit the mold. So in order to go against that, the person making the accusation would have to prove that there were racial tensions - whether that be through eyewitness account or correspondence. Chances are they don't have any form of proof to push their case.
    They don't have to necessarily prove there were racial tensions. All they have to prove is that they were treated differently than non-minority workers, which is what happened here, and they are likely to win. It helps to be able to say conclusively that it was because of their race but there are clever bigots out there so the law makes allowances.

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