South-Western - Management  
You be the Judge
Topic Managing Human Resource Systems
Key Words discrimination, adverse employment actions
InfoTrac Reference A97234777
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News Story

Nate Calderon worked for a local Boys' Club for years before becoming a probation officer, and later obtained a position in a group home to work one-on-one with residents. When he was transferred to a desk job, he was angry. His supervisor explained that it was because he routinely broke the rules, which resulted in behavior problems among the boys. It was not a demotion, his pay, hours and benefits stayed the same. Calderon, however, felt it happened because he was Hispanic, and sued the home for discriminating against him on the basis of his nationality.

The court found no evidence that it was an adverse employment action, since pay, etc. remained the same. The lesson from this case is that in transferring employees or making other job changes, one must consider the following: Does the job change appear to discriminate against someone on the basis of gender, race, age, religion, nationality, or some other protected category? If so, make sure you have the documentation to show that the change was based on solid business reasons.


As a manager, you will often be faced with making decisions that are unpopular. There is not enough information here to determine if Calderon had a case for discrimination, but what kind of documentation would you keep to make sure you were on solid legal footing when changing his, or anyone else's, job?


What laws specifically protect an employee against this kind of discrimination?

Source "You be the Judge," HR Briefing, Feb. 1, 2003, p. 4.
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