Some employees act as their own lawyers, something that can put employers at a disadvantage. That’s because courts bend over backward to make sure an unrepresented litigant gets his day in court.
Recent case: Bakarr Bangura sued his former employer over alleged discrimination based on his Senegalese national origin. Using a blank federal form provided to pro se litigants, he checked only the box for suing under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). His form didn’t make any federal law claims.
The employer got the case dismissed because Bangura hadn’t filed a state discrimination agency complaint before he sued.
But he appealed, and the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. It ordered a trial court to reconsider whether Bangura has a Title VII claim even though he didn’t check that box. (Bangura v. Elwyn, No. 11-4235, 3rd Cir., 2012)
- Off-Duty Parties Sometimes Carry Liability
- Make it one of HR's goals: Ensure everyone gets training on harassment
- Upset you didn't get the job? Well, did you apply for it?
- With promotions on the line, beware rivalries that could result in sex bias, harassment
- You must try to stop harassment--even if it's clients or customers doing the harassing