Petty slights aren’t grounds for a lawsuit

Some workers are thin-skinned and seem to think that little annoyances can add up to a discrimination or retaliation lawsuit. Fortunately, that’s not true.

Recent case: Donte, who is black, worked as a security guard. When a co-worker poked him with a radio antenna, he complained to a supervisor, who did nothing.

Later, he claimed a co-worker who he had reported for sleeping on the job called him a “clown” and an unspecified racial slur. Again, he said the supervisor did nothing.

Donte sued, alleging that he was subjected to retaliation and a hostile work environment because he was sometimes relieved late at the end of his shift and made to work outside on occasion.

But the court quickly dismissed Donte’s lawsuit, reasoning that nothing in his complaint rose to the level that necessitated federal intervention. (Bell v. McRoberts Protective Agency, No. 15-CV-0963, SD NY, 2016)