This one (unlike that one) wasn’t even worth five cents.
I suppose that’s what happens when you work for an airline and claim gender discrimination after getting fired for posting this publicly on your personal Facebook page:
If I were Black in America, I think I’d get down on my knees every day and thank my lucky stars that my ancestors were brought over here as slaves, because when you look at the amazing rights, privileges, and benefits that come along with U.S. citizenship, and then compare that to the relentless poverty, violence, and suffering in Africa, it’s like winning the Super Lotto, a hundred times over. But I guess I’m old-fashioned that way, believing as I do in the importance of gratitude, humility, and respect.
Another post featured a t-shirt emblazoned with the question: “Have you lost your cotton pickin’ mind?”
And in a third post, the plaintiff urged blue-eyed people to “UNITE” because “[t]oo many [blue-eyed people] are reproducing with Brown Eyed People” to the point that “[w]e are losing Blue Eyed People.”
According to this recent decision from the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the plaintiff’s Facebook posts drew the ire of co-workers who complained about the posts internally and the public, some of whom made collages of her posts and put them on the airline’s official social media pages.
So, the airline suspended and eventually terminated the plaintiff.
But, yes, she claimed gender discrimination. Why?
Allegedly, the airline did not discipline a male customer service employee for his social media posts disparaging Trump voters—calling them “ignorant rednecks” and “uneducated racist white people.”
Ok, she may be on to something here.
If the airline has a social media policy, the male customer service employee is similarly situated to her, and the airline does not enforce the policy evenly, there could be some disparate treatment based on gender.
But here’s the thing.
The plaintiff did not argue that management knew about her colleague’s inflammatory social media posts. As the Third Circuit noted, “this is dispositive. Her argument therefore fails.”
Thus, the court could only conclude that the airline fired her “because her racially insensitive social media posts violated its policies and generated an outcry from employees and customers alike.”
No discrimination. No $5 million either.
Hey, speaking of free, click here and register for the next edition of The Employer Handbook Zoom Office Happy Hour: “Unions: Fad or Trend?” Jon Hyman will be my guest on Friday, October 14, 2022, at Noon ET.
Jon is a shareholder and director at Wickens Herzer Panza in Avon, Ohio. In that capacity, he is a Practice Group Leader of the firm’s Employment & Labor Practice Group and a member of the Firm’s Litigation Department.
With the increased popularity of organized labor and the National Labor Relations Board making it easier for unions to organize and employees to show union support, are labor unions having a renaissance?
Or is it just a moment?
We’ll answer these questions and many others, such as:
- Why have labor unions become so popular?
- How do employers unwittingly open the door to unionization?
- And what can proactive non-union employers do to keep their workplace that way?
We hope you’ll join us on Friday, October 14, 2022, at Noon ET. Click here to register.