When a male employee texted his female co-worker and former girlfriend that she was a “whore” and later ignored two protective orders that the female co-worker had taken out against him, I wonder if he was thinking, “Maybe, I’ll get fired and parlay that into a winning reverse-gender-discrimination claim.”
Indeed, the guy’s actions violated a number of work rules and, ultimately, resulted in his termination. But a winning reverse-gender-discrimination claim? Not so much according to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals (opinion here):
[Plaintiff] has not demonstrated that the City refused to terminate similarly situated female employees, i.e., female employees that violated the City’s violence in the workplace policy, sexual harassment policy, and code of ethics. As evidence of less favorable treatment, [Plaintiff] submits that the City terminated him, but did not terminate [his female co-workers].
The female co-workers used a City fax machine to file complaints against the Plaintiff and brought a handgun to work for protection — against the Plaintiff. But I digress…
On its face, contends [Plaintiff], this disparity in treatment demonstrates that the City has discriminated on the basis of gender. However, [Plaintiff] was subject to multiple protection from abuse orders, he admitted to sending text messages during work hours that were designed to annoy and alarm [Plaintiff’s female co-worker], and was charged with and ultimately pled guilty to harassment. As the District Court acknowledged, the record does not show that [Plaintiff’s female co-worker] engaged in similar conduct.
Consequently, the Plaintiff could not demonstrate reverse-gender discrimination…even in the bizarro world.
Usually, I end my blog posts by offering an employer takeaway. This time, I’ll toss out an employee takeaway: Don’t do what the Plaintiff did.