Most of the time, when we think of Employment Discrimination, we think of someone getting terminated because of race or religion, but that’s not how it always happens.
Several years ago, we had a client who employed about thirty employees all with their own cubicle. There was one very gregarious individual who would grab his coffee and make it his mission to talk to all of his co-workers every Monday morning. He would walk into each cubicle, pat the employee on the back, and say, “Hey, what did you do this weekend?”
Well, there was one employee who didn’t like this. This employee went to the owner of the company and complained that the “Monday Morning Greeter” invaded his space and it needed to stop.
Management met, talked about it, and actually came to the conclusion that the “Monday Morning Greeting” is the greatest thing that happens Monday morning because no one wants to be at the office. They thought this interaction was a positive culture change in their office environment. For the most part, everyone liked the individual who took it upon himself to greet everyone, except for this one other employee. So management did nothing, and it continued.
Finally, the day came when the disgruntled employee quit and then sued them. The term used to describe his case was Constructive Termination. In other words, no one fired him, but they made his experience being there so difficult that he couldn’t continue working under those conditions. You might be surprised to know he was successful with his case.
It just goes to show that Employment Discrimination isn’t always what we think it is.