Talk about no good deed going unpunished. An employee who’d been struggling in his job was put on a performance improvement plan — and then turned around and sued for age bias. Did the judge buy it?
A quick look at the case:
A 51-year-old employee received marginal performance reviews, and his supervisor decided to put him on 90-day PIP to bring his performance up to higher standards.
So employee sued, charging he was being discriminated against on account of his age.
His argument: A PIP is an “adverse action,” similar to a demotion or firing. And in this case, the worker argued, the action was motivated by the fact he was over 40.
But the court ruled for the employer, saying:
- A PIP is not an adverse action. The employee suffered no loss of pay, benefits or status as a result of being put on the PIP.
- PIPs aren’t punitive. In fact, the court decided the opposite: A PIP is a “second chance,” in which the employee gets a lifeline to improve rather than a summary termination or demotion.
Cite: Reynolds v. Dept. of the Army. For a look at the full decision, go here.