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Sued? Consider impact of treating co-workers poorly

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

One unhappy employee may not have much of an effect on your organization, even if she sues. But watch out! Handle the lawsuit poorly and you could see litigation grow as co-workers join in.

Recent case: Susan Duling believed that the grocery chain where she worked discriminated against women. She said the company steered them into low-paying jobs and didn’t post job openings. The result: Men who were picked by their supervisors got all the opportunities. She sued, alleging a companywide discriminatory policy.

When other employees were called to testify during discovery, the company allegedly cracked down on one of those employees, treating her in a way she apparently found disrespectful. She then joined the lawsuit, too, with additional pregnancy and FMLA claims.

She might never have sued had she been handled more gingerly. (Duling, et al., v. Gristede’s, No. 06-Civ-10197, SD NY, 2010)

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