Change in Supervisors Supports Change in Performance Standards


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently affirmed the proposition that a new supervisor may impose a different set of performance standards.

In Lindeman v. Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, the employee, who had a history of positive performance reviews under one supervisor, claimed that his new supervisors discriminated against him because of his disabilities when they issued progressive discipline quickly leading to his discharge. The court noted that, while a single supervisor changing his rating after the employee engages in protected activity is suggestive of discrimination, new supervisors may have “shifting expectations” that constitute a basis other than discrimination for the adverse action. Thus, employers should be reassured that new supervisors can establish new and more demanding performance standards.