Jeffrey Hawthorne, a Mercer County Children and Youth Services (CYS) caseworker, sued the agency for gender discrimination, alleging his supervisors wanted to create an “all-female work force,” and “treated men differently from women.”
Hawthorne alleged his supervisor gave him simple cases and removed him from more complex cases he thought he could handle. He never filed a grievance because, when he complained to the union steward, she told him his supervisors made life difficult for anyone who challenged them. He received unsatisfactory reviews for not following procedures, and was eventually terminated.
Hawthorne pointed out that the agency hired no other male employees during his 18 months with CYS. The CYS director responded that the female applicants she hired were “better” than the male applicants.
U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer ruled that CYS showed sufficient nondiscriminatory reasons for its decisions, and that Hawthorne was fired for .
As for retaliation, the judge ruled that the union steward’s warning indicated the supervisors retaliated against everybody who crossed them. “Given that both male and female employees were treated poorly in this regard,” Fischer wrote, “it is not evidence of reverse discrimination.”
- Don't think 'Contractor' status shields you from retaliation
- How to prove work environment isn't hostile: Track every bias, harassment complaint
- Set policies, establish clear process for employees to report sexual harassment
- Consider ADA issues once FMLA, personal leave expire
- 'Last-Chance agreements' are reasonable accommodations for substance abuse