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Nix the Nicknames: 'Grandma' Will Get Even

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Question: Every workplace has managers who love to hand out nicknames to employees and co-workers. That’s all good fun until an employee in a protected class—age, sex, race, religion, disability, etc.—takes offense to his or her special nickname. As this new court ruling shows, nicknames are dangerous and can be used as part of a “mosaic” to prove discrimination …

Case in Point: Jolyn McDonald, 54, worked for 17 years at a Best Buy store in Illinois as a customer service manager. She’d been promoted to her position after an “exceptionally strong performance history” and positive performance reviews.

One day, the store manager gave her a written warning for failing to adapt to the company’s new business model. Witnesses testified that company leaders said employees who had “been around for a while” had a harder time adjusting to the new focus. The store manager recommended that McDonald step do...(register to read more)

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