When terminated through a reduction in force or for some other legitimate reason, overly sensitive employees may take a shot at filing a lawsuit over perceived slights, alleging they had been forced to work in a hostile work environment. Fortunately, it usually takes more than that to win.
Recent case: Fayerene, who is black, was laid off during a reduction in force. She had long complained about co-workers being disrespectful. She sued, alleging she had worked in a racially hostile environment.
Fayerene pointed to one comment she endured that she believed to be racial: When President Obama was elected, a co-worker said, “Greens for everybody.”
The court said that comment wasn’t enough to create a hostile work environment. (Gibson v. Verizon, No. 12-10334, 5th Cir., 2012)
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- Disabled worker must request accommodation
- Consider uniform, ADEA-compliant severance and rights-waiver releases--even if age isn't factor
- 'Get real' with performance reviews; make sure managers don't fluff them up
- Prompt investigation cuts co-worker harassment liability