Employees will gripe about almost anything. Many employees don’t like change and have a hard time accepting new schedules, assignments or other necessary
Some may even think such common workplace occurrences are aimed at them because of their race, sex or other protected characteristic.
The reality is, most minor grievances never add up to a discrimination lawsuit.
That’s why you shouldn’t lose too much sleep over employees who whine about every little problem. Employees
—even those belonging to a protected class—must be able to tolerate minor annoyances. Judges don’t like having to referee workplace pettiness.
Recent case: Dr. Samuel Clayton, who is black, worked as a staff physician at a state hospital for the mentally ill. He claimed his supervisors changed his schedule, moved his desk without his permission and delayed moving his mailbox after other doctors had theirs moved.
He sued, alleging that he had been working in a racially hostile work environment.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said he had no case. First, he could not connect any of his complaints to race discrimination. Second, even if he could have done so, none of the minor inconveniences he was forced to endure amounted to adverse employment actions.
They certainly didn’t add up to create a hostile work environment. They were nothing more than management decisions Clayton didn’t like. (Clayton v. Pa. Department of Welfare, No. 07-3171, 3rd Cir., 2008)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- 10 Secrets to an Effective Performance Review
- New scrutiny may change the way employers access social media
- Employees who sue and lose are now more likely liable for court costs
- Develop future leaders by lifting morale
- What's in a name? Maybe discrimination