It’s not what you dont know that hurts you, its what you think is so that isn’t

Every morning I get in my inbox an email from the Employment Law Information Network and in the edition from August 6 was a post from Michael Maslanka from Constangy’s Dallas office in which he asked the question whether the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause protect gay employees who work for pubic employers. What caught my eye was Michael’s final line of the post which is the title of this post.

How many times have you made a decision on a business process or business policy based on less than complete information. Our local newspaper for instance ran a 10 question quiz on the Affordable Care Act. On the answer page they showed the percentage of individuals who got the response correct and in most cases the correct response was identified by less than 25% of the people. Or consider this question — You have had a candidate apply for position and you find out that the candidate has a disability so you automatically remove him or her from consideration even though they may very well be your most loyal and dependable employee.

We find ourselves in a very complex world today and it is very easy to fall into the trap of making assumptions based on half truths or mistaken information. I fully understand in the rush to achieve a goal we make rush decisions. But the problem is just what Michael suggested. If you get the RSS feeds from the EEOC there are loads of fines levied recently to organizations that thought they knew something and not only were they wrong it came back to hurt them. Consider:

,An $11 million consent decree entered here today in federal court has ended the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) race harassment and discrimination lawsuit against a major transportation company.

a Mokena, Ill.-based towing company, will pay $380,000 to 13 claimants and provide other relief resolving a disability discrimination lawsuit

a major cement and concrete products company, will pay $400,000 and furnish other relief to settle a lawsuit for racial harassment

From both a business perspective and from a personal perspective we need to avoid jumping to judgements unless you are sure you have all the facts. Facts that are based on  evidence based data. Taking the views of some o the media or from some misguided directive from you culture can come back to bite. The bite might very well be worse than the bark.

How are you going to change your decision process to ensure that you are not one of those who is operating from what you think is correct when it is not?

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