Warn supervisors to stay away from demeaning jokes and other offensive, sexually oriented comments.
Recent case: William, who was a doctor, worked part time as a pathologist. He developed diabetes, was hospitalized and returned to work using a wheelchair. Shortly after, he was terminated.
William sued, alleging, among other things, that he had worked in a sexually hostile workplace. He claimed the coroner—his supervisor—sometimes called him a "40 year-old virgin," grabbed his groin, kissed him on the forehead, asked about his sex life and that of his mother and generally made himself a nuisance.
The court said he had enough evidence to warrant a jury trial to decide if the conduct constituted same-sex harassment, as well as whether William was fired on account of his disabilities. (Bligh-Glover v. Rizzo, No. 1:08-CV-2788, ND OH, 2012)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Remind bosses: Don't tolerate rude acts for fear of lawsuits
- Track all discipline to prove you don't discriminate when punishing employees
- Check for subordinate bias before disciplining boss
- Courts won't second-guess honest business decisions