Monday, September 24, 2007

Are individuals liable for employment discrimination?

A common question I hear from supervisors and HR professionals is: "Am I personally liable for employment discrimination when I make a hiring decision?"

This recent article deals with a California Supreme Court decision but covers the answer to this question generally.*

* Short answer: it's rare (except for Section 1981 or 1983 claims** and failing to verify employment eligibility***) but you may be named anyway as a tactic on the part of the plaintiff.

** Which can be particularly nasty since there is no cap on damages and no administrative requirement (like filing with the EEOC). On the other hand it is more difficult for plaintiffs to prevail in these cases, and it's only relevant in cases of disparate treatment.

*** Okay, this might be nastier because you could face jail time. Don't forget those I-9s!

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