Constangy partner Robin Shea’s input on compliant employer response to claims of discrimination were included in a story from HR Dive discussing the recent court decision in Anderson v. Brennan, Postmaster General, which followed a case wherein a postal police officer (PPO) faced retaliation and was fired for sleeping on the job six months after racial discrimination.
The PPO facing the discipline, who was raised in China, claimed the termination was “disproportionate and retaliatory,” as two other white PPOs who allegedly fell asleep on duty were not fired but instead allowed to retire. While the court ruled there was no evidence for discrimination, they still held the employer liable for retaliation.
In a previous Q&A on the basics of Title VII compliance, Robin told HR Dive that she recommends employers give those named in complaints a kind of safe space. Whether or not a claim has merit, managers need to be able to speak with someone on staff when they’re feeling frustrated so they can return to the larger workplace and conduct themselves in a professional manner.
Enforcing policies inconsistently and disciplining unevenly is a sure-fire way to spark discrimination and retaliation claims, so it’s important for managers and human resources to see the bigger picture and ensure discipline isn’t given in a discriminatory way.
The full article is available here.