Being Mouthy May Be Cause For Dismissal
Apr 11, 2013
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) April 10, 2013 – Employees with a hair trigger temper and combative demeanor may find themselves unemployed.
“Most employers have had experience with an employee who is difficult to work with, in the sense they are overly sensitive and seem to take offense at and with everything. There are even those who cannot take any kind of constructive criticism. The reaction(s) of individuals such as that, may result in discipline and/or being let go,” outlined Timothy Coffey, a Chicago employment lawyer and principal attorney for The Coffey Law Office, P. C., an employment litigation firm dedicated to representing employees in the workplace.
Matthews v. Donahoe, No. 1065, 7th Cir., 2012 is a case that highlights this kind of a situation quite clearly. The plaintiff was a postal worker, with a route delivering mail. She was also of African American descent. After being off work for a period of time to recuperate from an injury, she was given a new route. Before long, she began to complain that her postal supervisor was not only criticizing her work, but micromanaging everything relating to how she delivered the mail.
This situation continued, until one day the supervisor sent out another worker to help the plaintiff on her route. On the plaintiffs return to the postal station, she told her supervisor if the same worker came out again, she was going to kick her butt. “In response, the supervisor asked the plaintiff to calm down and was told that she was not the plaintiff’s boss and she could not tell ‘her’ what to do. It was also followed by a colorful expletive directed at the status of the supervisor in relation to the plaintiff,” added Coffey.
As a result of that incident, the plaintiff was not only suspended for insubordination, but fired. It was subsequently shown that she also had a spotty attendance record, missing 53 days with no excuse, in a three-month period. The plaintiff filed a racial discrimination lawsuit.
When the case got to trial, the judge did not agree with the plaintiff’s assertion of racial discrimination. Instead, the court stated the plaintiff had been insubordinate and that ‘that’, not race, was the reason she was fired. In short, she had no case and her action of mouthing off to the supervisor was considered to be grounds for discipline and/or termination.
Timothy Coffey is a Chicago employment lawyer and principal attorney for The Coffey Law Office, P. C., an employment litigation firm dedicated to representing employees in the workplace. To learn more or to contact a Chicago employment attorney, visit http://www.employmentlawcounsel.com
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