Some employees never forget an indignity. Years later, they may sue over something unrelated to the original wrong and try to bring the old offense into the case.
That sometimes works if their claim alleges a hostile work environment. But if the hostility stopped years ago, chances are the court won’t consider the old claim.
Recent case: Felice Orlando sued his employer, a state agency, when he was denied a promotion, allegedly on account of his race. He also added a hostile work environment claim, arguing that a co-worker called him racially charged names back in 1996.
The employer first pointed out that Orlando had earned three promotions in the past few years and only lost out on the last one because he failed the promotion test. Then it explained that even if the alleged co-worker’s slur did happen, that employee had long since retired and nothing else had happened since then that was at all racially charged.
The court tossed out Orlando’s case. It reasoned that failing the promotion test caused Orlando to miss out on the promotion. Without evidence the test was discriminatory, he had no claim.
Plus, it said isolated, racially charged comments that stopped years ago can’t be used to prove a hostile work environment if there aren’t later incidents. Then and only then can an employee bring in incidents that happened more than 300 days before filing an EEOC complaint. If the behavior stopped—for whatever reason—it’s not part of a continuing violation. (Orlando v. Department of Transportation, No. 10-5142, 2nd Cir., 2012)
Final note: Redemption can follow even egregious hostility. Just act quickly to fix the problem by disciplining the co-workers responsible for the misbehavior and making sure it doesn’t happen again.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/29918/old-slurs-dont-make-hostile-environment-today "
- Can we be liable for revoking a job offer?
- Co-worker complaints not enough to establish accommodation hardship
- It's not discrimination if worker wasn't disciplined
- Charlotte company learns the hard way: You will pay for bias
- Stop harassment suits before they start! Follow up with employees after every complaint