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Being rude isn’t a protected ethnic trait

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Here’s a reminder to stick with solid explanations when documenting discipline. If you have facts to back up your decision, an employee’s spurious claim of some sort of discrimination likely will be dismissed.

Recent case: Ina, a recently naturalized citizen originally from the Ukraine, was terminated from her billing job with the Department of Veterans Affairs during her probationary period. Her supervisor documented several incidents in which she concluded Ina had been rude to co-workers and the supervisor.

Ina sued, alleging national origin discrimination. She argued that she had been fired for behavior that was reflective of her national origin, telling the court that she may have seemed argumentative and rude because, as a Ukrainian, it is in her nature to speak loudly.

The court tossed her lawsuit, citing the VA’s disciplinary documentation. (Brez v. McDonald, MD PA, 2017)

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