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Some employees who believe they’ve been mistreated get so angry that they begin airing their grievances to co-workers. That can be a firing offense.

Although you can’t ban employees from talking about wages or other conditions of employment, you can prohibit harassing conduct.

Recent case: Housekeeper James Hawthorne believed he was being paid less than younger employees. But HR showed him that he made more than the others and had received raises greater than or equal to those of other employees. But he kept asking co-workers about their pay, and several complained he was harassing them.

Management warned him to stop pestering the other employees. He persisted until he was fired under a no-harassment policy.

He sued, alleging retaliation. But the court tossed out the case, concluding his firing had been justified. (Hawthorne v. Baptist, No. 3:08-CV-154, ND FL, 2010)

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