What is the best defense for a supervisor against an employee who constantly calls them a racist, to stop disciplinary actions from being filed?
As a retired Department of Defense Manager where racism and EEO are taken very seriously, I have been there, I understand it sucks.The solution: Take thorough notes on performance and any encounters or instances of the accusations. Then do what it takes to get control of the situation. Likely the employee is using the racism accusations to hide performance issues or act on a grudge against you, it will continue until you draw a line and hold fast. While the accusations are being thrown at you you are on the defense. You need to assert control.First step is to request a meeting with your own supervisor and explain what is going on. Let them know you are or plan to be working with the EEO office or rep to resolve the issue. This initial meeting with your management is in order to keep them from being surprised. Always remember that most higher level managers would prefer to support their intermediate supervisors if they can over individual employee issues, but you need to preemptively let them know there is an issue so they are prepared. Also let them know you are keeping documentation, any performance issues and that you will be working with the EEO component.After filling in your management, immediately request a meeting with EEO. You might have set the meeting even before meeting with your supervisor. Be aware that while EEO representatives have the job of advocacy for employees, they are paid by the company and report to upper management, they don't want to waste their time and credibility on false claims any more than you want to deal with them. By proactively meeting with them, you can express that you are trying to do right with no results. Ask for their advice. If you show them proactively you want to do the right thing, they will become an ally even while ensuring employee rights are adhered to.With your homework and prep work done, call in your employee for a formal sit-down. This is where your leadership skills are tested and developed. Take the time to really listen to them, then tell them your own perspective. Be prepared to hear anything they have to say where they might be at least partially correct. From there, you assert your role as a manager, as hard as it might be. Let them know that you take racism seriously but standards in the workplace apply as well. Above all, let the employee know that if they have any thoughts you are racist or are doing anything else inappropriate toward them, they are expected to come to you or official channels and the management chaing to address it rather than causing disharmony in the work place. Be prepared for a very contentious meeting: the employee thinks they have some control, taking that control back may not come easy. Document all of the conversation. Report the results to EEO and your supervisor.Within the federal government EEO processes are very formalized, if an employee files a grievance it means a lot of red tape and the employee can raise a lot of heck. In the private sector it should be a lot cleaner: if the employee is fighting your authority and/or disrupting the workplace or hiding performance issues with a false racism claim, they can be flat-out dismissed. Repeating myself, your defense is to thoroughly document, know that you too have power in the organization as a manager, do plenty of coordination up-front, then aggressively assert your rights and responsibilities as a manager.Essentially this is blackmail on the part of the employee. As long as you are afraid of what the employee might do, they are winning. Do your job well, then call them on it or it will never stop. Fire the employee or initiate performance penalties as appropriate in your organization. If the employee truly does initiate a forma grievance on racism grounds, so what? If you have kept good documentation it will likely go nowhere, and regardless your day-to-day work will be a lot less stressful. It might be very stressful for a short while when you are in the middle of a game of chicken, but you will feel a lot better about all of it, and will be a better manager, after you know you didn't blink.