An age-Old problem: ‘Stray remarks’ have a way of coming home — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

An age-Old problem: ‘Stray remarks’ have a way of coming home

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in Discrimination and Harassment,HR Management,Human Resources

Conventional wisdom has been that isolated or “stray” remarks alone by an employer do not prove discriminatory intent. Conventional wisdom may be wrong.

A recent 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals case (Tomassi v. Insignia Financial Group, Inc., 478 F.3d 111, 2007) has clarified what it deemed a misconception of the true meaning of the term “stray remarks.” 

‘In your day and age’

In Tomassi, the plaintiff was a supervisor at an apartment complex. When she was terminated, she filed an age discrimination lawsuit. In it, she claimed that she had been fired because she was older than other employees and had been targeted for termination because of her age.

Of course, she had no direct proof. After all, employers seldom come right out and say they are terminating an employee because she’s older than 40. 

But she had to come up with something—and she did. As proof of her claim, she pointed to conversations her supervisor began wit...(register to read more)

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