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Missed lunch invitations, cramped office aren’t enough to warrant lawsuit

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in Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Performance Reviews

Sometimes, you find out pretty quickly that someone you hired isn’t going to work out.

While the final decision to terminate may take some time, many supervisors naturally start giving the cold shoulder to bad hires. Hey, if the guy’s destined to be a short-timer, why invest in the relationship—especially if he’s already been told his performance isn’t up to snuff?

Such a blow-off may be crass, but it’s not the kind of behavior that commonly puts an employer on the losing end of a lawsuit.

Recent case: Within weeks of being hired by the financial advisory firm Advest, Steven Snyder began complaining about alleged anti-Semitism. He apparently heard a secretary blame U.S. military deaths in Iraq on Israel.

Meanwhile, Snyder—whose performance wasn’t nearly as good as management had hoped when it hired him—was growing irked that co-workers weren’t inviting him to join them for lunch and that he didn’t get a prime office that opened up.

Within a few months, Advest fired Snyder for poor performance. He sued, claiming he lost his job because of his earlier complaint about anti-Semitism. He pointed to the secretary’s comment and his gripes about missed lunches and lousy office space as proof he was being punished for complaining.

The court tossed out the claim. It said nothing Snyder had experienced rose to the level of an adverse employment action or retaliation. (Snyder v. Advest, et al., No. 06-Civ-1426, SD NY, 2008) 

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