When the New York Mets play in Philadelphia, they stay at the Westin Philadelphia in Center City. In August 2007, John Dunlap was staffing the hotel’s front door when he attempted to move the ropes back to make more room for the entering ball players. That’s when a New York fan cursed at him.
Dunlap cursed back and then went inside. When he emerged with a metal rod, several co-workers attempted to restrain Dunlap, but he managed to wiggle free, find the fan and attack him with the rod.
Another Westin employee, Brian Fraim, tried to calm the situation, but a Mets fan attacked him. He wrestled that fan to the ground.
Following the incident, the hotel’s parent company, Merritt Hospitality, fired Dunlap, but not Fraim. Dunlap is black, and Fraim is white. Dunlap sued, alleging race discrimination.
The court dismissed the case, noting that Fraim acted in self-defense while Dunlap, however justified, had attacked the Mets fan.
Note: If the incident had happened this season, think how easily all this could have been avoided. Dunlap would surely have calmed the unruly New Yorkers by reminding them of the Phillies’ commanding lead in the National League East standings … or of the Mets’ epic collapses in 2007 and 2008 … or the Phillies’ 2007 division title … or 2008 World Series championship. Just sayin’, ya know?
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Track discipline for equitable punishment
- Don't stack the deck in arbitration
- Cite solid reason for termination to beat bias lawsuit based on statistical argument
- Promptly investigate co-worker harassment—and ensure employees know how to report it