Politics sometimes come up when co-workers talk. As long as what’s said isn’t overtly offensive, those discussions don’t create a hostile work environment—even if some employees are sensitive about the subject matter.
Recent case: Bijan, who is of Iranian lineage, was fired because of what his employer said were economic factors. He sued, alleging the real reason was bias against Iranians.
As evidence, he cited a supervisor’s political comments, including a statement that Israel might at some point bomb Iran. But none of the statements included ethnic slurs or other offensive statements except one that referred to Bijan’s “Iranian ass.”
The court tossed out the case, reasoning that the comment wasn’t nearly severe enough (or repeated enough) to create a hostile work environment. (Karimian v. Time Equities, 13-997, 2nd Cir., 2014)
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