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Loose-Lips Alert: Train managers and supervisors that press comments carry weight

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources

If you don’t have a public relations department to handle press inquiries, make sure you train managers and supervisors on how not to talk to the press.

That includes warning them about making age-related comments.

Recent case: When long-term Ocean City beach patrol captain Oliver Muzslay began having problems with the city director of public safety, their fight spilled over into the local press. Muzslay claimed the safety director ignored his calls to extend lifeguard hours after a series of drownings and fired him in retaliation for speaking out.

But his beef didn’t end there. Muzslay also claimed age discrimination after the safety director told a newspaper reporter that the city “sought some younger people” to take over beach patrol duties.

That comment, reported in the local paper, became the basis for an age-bias lawsuit.

The comment was direct evidence of a possible violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and enough to warrant that the case go to trial. (Muzslay v. City of Ocean City, No. 05-1335, 3rd Cir., 2007)  

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