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Receptionist delivers messages from hell

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in Firing,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Zachary Winspear joined Community Development, Inc. (CDI), a property management company in Golden Valley, as a personal assistant to company president Charles Schneider. As the two grew close, Winspear confided to Schneider that his brother had committed suicide, an event that left Winspear severely depressed.

Winspear was eventually promoted to community manager.

In January 2005, Schneider’s wife, Lana Sierra, began working at CDI as a receptionist. Shortly after, Sierra told Winspear she had been communicating with his dead brother. She said his brother was in hell and wanted to spare Winspear the same fate. She urged Winspear to avoid hell by finding God.

Over the next several weeks, Sierra gave Winspear daily “messages,” sometimes crying as she described the torment Winspear’s brother was enduring. Winspear found her messages upsetting and asked her to stop.

When the problem worsened, Winspear talked with Schneider. Schneider told him his wife’s ability to speak with the dead was a gift. He advised Winspear to listen to her. Sierra continued to discuss the matter daily with Winspear through March. After March, she made only occasional references to it.

In August 2005, Winspear quit. He sued for constructive discharge and discrimination.

The court found for CDI, however, noting that the daily harassment ended five months before Winspear quit. The delay was “fatal” to his claim, the judge ruled.

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