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Not every work dispute is a ‘federal case’

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Federal courts are beginning to be more selective in the types of employment discrimination cases they consider. No longer can employees essentially “make a federal case” out of any workplace dispute.

Recent case: Riley filed a federal lawsuit after his boss allegedly responded by firing gunshots in the air when Riley asked for his paycheck. Two days later, Riley got his check—and then went to the police to report the gunshots. Then he was fired.

The federal court dismissed the lawsuit because Riley didn’t allege any federal discrimination laws had been broken—just that his employer allegedly fired a gun in response to his request for his paycheck. That’s strictly a state claim and probably one best handled by police, not the courts. (Olive v. Clay Develop­­ment, No. H-13-3181, SD TX, 2014)

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