Management Update - September 2011


In this issue: Fifth Circuit Recognizes Age-Based Hostile Environment Claim; NLRB Reinstates Recognition and Successor Bar Doctrines; and NLRB Reinstates Recognition and Successor Bar Doctrines.

Excerpt from 'Fifth Circuit Recognizes...":

For the first time, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that a plaintiff can pursue a claim for a hostile work environment based on age. See Dediol v. Best Chevrolet, Inc. (5th Cir. Sep. 12, 2011). If other federal appeals courts follow this reasoning and recognize age-based hostile work environment claims, more employers may find themselves involved in such litigation. Implementing policies prohibiting harassment, establishing effective complaint procedures and training employees and supervisors on these policies and procedures can help prevent costly litigation and/or provide a defense in the event of litigation.

The 65-year-old plaintiff, Dediol, was employed by Best Chevrolet as a car salesman for three months. Dediol, who was also a born-again Christian, claimed that for two of the three months of his employment, his supervisor repeatedly called him names such as "old mother******," "old man" and "pops" instead of using his given name. Dediol also claimed his supervisor made derogatory comments about his religion, such as "God would not put food on your plate" and "[G]o to your f****ng God and see if he can save your job," approximately twelve times over the two months before his employment ended. Additionally, Dediol claimed his supervisor engaged in incidents of violence and physical intimidation toward him, which culminated when the supervisor threatened to "beat the F out of" him and "charged" him in the presence of several employees. After this incident Dediol stopped coming to work and was terminated for abandoning his job.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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