Offer equal access to high-quality training.

A federal appeals court has ruled that unequal or inadequate training may be an adverse employment action that can justify a discrimination lawsuit--just like demotion, failure to promote and termination.

Recent case: Omar, who is Black, worked for Exxon Mobil as a plant operator in Louisiana. His job required completing a two-step training program that included several tests and culminated with a walkthrough exercise demonstrating mastery of the skills taught. Omar failed 14 of the tests. One more failure meant he would be fired.

Exxon Mobil gave him permission to work overtime hours to prepare for the final walkthrough. He failed twice and was discharged. A white worker hired at the same time passed.

Omar sued, alleging that a lack of adequate training was an adverse employment action. He claimed white workers received more training, making it more likely they would pass the tests. Exxon Mobil claimed inadequate training didn't qualify as an adverse employment action; it said only completely denying someone a training...

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