This one will get you to hire slow and fire fast to avoid retaliation claims

As in faster than an employee can complain about discrimination to HR or to the EEOC.

***phone rings***

Me: Eric Meyer

Caller: Oh hey, Eric. It’s [insert name of HR Director] from [insert name of Company].

Me: Whassup?

Caller: That’s getting old, Eric. But, if you’d like, I can hang up and have “1999” call you back.

Me: You win this round. How can I help you?

Caller: I have a question about a possible employee termination.

Me: Ok. Whass— How can I help you?

Caller: Well, you see Eric, we want to terminate the employment of [insert name of employee with 15 performance issues over 6 months; maybe 1 of which is actually documented]…

*** waits for it ***

Caller: But, here’s the thing… 

*** waits for it ***

Caller: The other day, he came to HR and complained about a manager singling him out because of [insert protected class]. And— Eric, did you just, “ka-ching”?

Me: No.

Caller: Yes, you did! And I’ll bet you pumped your fist too!

Me: No, I didn’t. Pics or it didn’t happen.

Caller: Whatever. ***Googles “New Employment Lawyer” AND Mature AND “no blogs whatsoever”*** I know the complaint is probably BS. We’ll investigate. But, how long afterwards do we have to wait until we fire him.

Me: Well, I read this jawn yesterday from the Eighth Circuit. It’s about a retaliation claim that the court allowed to survive a motion to dismiss because the plaintiff pled that she complained to the EEOC and was fired 6 weeks later. If the case gets to trial, she’ll likely need to have more proof of retaliation, but it’ll cost the employer a lot in defense costs if it wants to litigate.

Caller: Eric, did you just, “ka-ching” again?

Me: Maybe that time, I did.

Caller: And, did I hear a cash register next to your phone?

Me: I have many things on my desk. Let me tell you the story of my Guns N Roses action figures.

….aaaaaaand scene!

Employer takeaways.

  1. Document performance issues.
  2. Take all complaints of discrimination seriously.
  3. Hire slow; fire fast; preferably before the employee with performance issues complains about discrimination.
  4. And, if you don’t fire fast enough, but you have a legitimate business reason for firing someone after they complain about discrimination, maybe wait a few months before carrying that out. Otherwise, you may have to pay a lawyer to defend a retaliation claim.


“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”
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