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Scenario: A strict attendance policy indicates that any employee who is at least 10 minutes late for work three times in a six-month period will be terminated. Managers sometimes note when employees are late, but often look the other way.
However, on a particularly trying day, a manager decides to enforce the policy. Following it to the letter, the manager terminates a frustrating employee the third day that the person is late to work.
The problem? The employee is a member of a minority group and files a claim of discrimination against the organization, alleging that the person was fired because of the minority status. Up until this point, other supervisors haven’t enforced this policy to termination, even though several non-minority individuals have been late in a six-month period.
Question: Was the individual discriminated against? What do you think?
Click below to see answer.
Answer: While this scenario alone does not prove that the individual was specifically discriminated against, the fact that the policy was not consistently enforced may give the claim more weight.
If the employee also had other evidence of discrimination based on race, the organization might find itself on the wrong end of a lawsuit, even if the intent of enforcing the policy was not discriminatory in nature.
Human resources (HR) policies should be dependable representations of what employees can expect, and regular implementation will make these standards clear. If a manager doesn’t feel comfortable enforcing a policy, the person should not disregard it, but should talk to HR. If the policy is outdated, inappropriate, or difficult to enforce, revise or remove the policy instead of ignoring it.