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One stupid comment doesn’t create hostile environment

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

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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