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Is There Such a Thing as Reverse Discrimination?

A recent Court decision awarded $6 million to a man who claimed he was the victim of reverse discrimination. His supervisor had made disparaging comments about “Americans” and the employee demonstrated that his employment was terminated without objective evidence of poor performance.

An increasing number of lawsuits are claiming “reverse discrimination,” Kenneth Willner, an attorney with Paul Hastings LLP, at a recent National Employment Law Institute conference. Employers can prevent discrimination claims by giving accurate and objective reasons for decisions from the beginning and documenting decision-making processes.

Employers should take note of employees who receive great evaluations but whose ratings suddenly fall off a cliff, especially if a new supervisor is involved. Manager training can help, as well as standardized performance review processes.

Finally, national origin discrimination claims are on the rise, according to Willner, but, unlike the recent case mentioned, have largely been focused on English-only policies. Such policies, even in customer contact positions, have been successfully challenged. To avoid litigation, English-only policies should be narrowly tailored, not overly broad and not applied to jobs where they are not necessary.

Please work with your HR Consultant when dealing with these issues to avoid potential problems.

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