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How to wind up in court: Suggest ‘a man would be better’

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Hiring,Human Resources

Here’s advice that bears repeating to everyone involved in hiring and firing: Never opine that you’d prefer someone of the opposite sex to do a job.

Word will get around … and you’re sure to get sued.

Recent case: Lisa Dohner worked for a county agency and managed a largely female workforce. A county commissioner complained that things weren’t going well at the agency and said he thought a man would be better for the job. Shortly, Dohner was terminated and a man replaced her.

When she sued for sex discrimination, Dohner brought in other employees who claimed to have heard the comment. She asked for punitive damages, arguing that the commissioner’s words indicated reckless disregard for her federal right to be free of sex bias.

The court ordered a trial. (Dohner v. Clearfield County, et al., No. 3:08-52, WD PA, 2009)

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