Supervisors: Avoid stereotypes in discipline.

Objective measures of performance and effectiveness at work are almost always better than subjective standards.

Remind your supervisors that before they criticize or discipline an employee for some qualitative shortcoming--such as being uncooperative, argumentative or overly aggressive--they should consider whether they would apply that same standard to someone who belongs to a different age, gender or race category.

Using stereotypes to define expectations is a recipe for legal disaster.

Recent case: Victoria was the head women's gymnastics coach at a university in Maryland. She received consistent excellent performance reviews and she was named a three-time "Coach of the Year" in the conference.

However, when some athletes complained that she was "too tough," the university put Victoria on administrative leave and investigated. She was eventually terminated while eight months pregnant.

She sued for sex discrimination, noting...

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