Flutterby™! : Can't work in the nude -Sue!

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

Can't work in the nude -Sue!

2002-05-07 18:13:44+00 by ziffle 9 comments

Lawsuits against employers are getting out of hand. Here are the 10 craziest from last year

"A company who fired an employee for working in the nude at the office on Thanksgiving Day could be sued for religious discrimination. A security guard turned in the employee for "violating the company's dress code." The employee is suing for failure to provide reasonable accommodation for his religion: shamanism"

"A female employee in a Minneapolis sex-toy shop sued for sexual harassment because of all the lewd talk she had to listen to during her shift"

Its the legal system , and underlying that, the culture, and underlying that, the subjective, social construction of reality folks at our universities who are the culprits, if you ask me.

He who pays the piper (should) call the tune...

[ related topics: Religion Interactive Drama Erotic Sexual Culture moron Sociology Law Work, productivity and environment California Culture Machinery Fabrication Education ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-05-07 18:52:45+00 by: Shawn

While I agree that the lawsuits are frivolous, I also think that we should be able to come to work nude too ;-)

#Comment made: 2002-05-07 20:42:39+00 by: whump

Zif, out of the entire population of employment civil litigation, how many of those are 'frivolous'?

You mention three instances out of a population of how many? Are these representative?

If they are not, then I think your argument needs a better emiprical foundation.

#Comment made: 2002-05-07 20:52:11+00 by: ziffle

Shawn: me too, but its up to temployer, eh?

Whump: ADA-related disability that entitled her to accommodation even though snakes had been seen in her work area at the hospital. The fear prevented her only from working in her current job and "A comfort level with snakes is simply not a requirement for most jobs." Anderson v. North Dakota State Hospital, 11 AD Cases 304, 8th Circuit 2000.

A police department was permitted to reject a candidate whose intelligence scores were too high. The candidate had scored a 33 on the police test, the equivalent of an IQ of 125. The police department gave averages of current officers of between 20 and 27 with the national average being 21-22. The police department successfuly defended its policies by noting that those of such intelligence would become bored too easily and would leave the job after costly training. Robert Jordan v. City of New London, 2nd Circuit September 2000.

I thought these were eacky too; you do not? I have had experience with this stuff; the employee should just find another job; no employer would last anyway if this were to go on, and its very expensive and unfair to employers.

#Comment made: 2002-05-07 22:24:42+00 by: Diane Reese

So if someone at my office soaks my seat in radioactive material, causing me to experience a year's-worth of exposure (and presumably some health effects) in a few minutes, you think I ought to just "find another job", with the co-worker suffering no consequences? (That one did not mention suing the employer, but rather the co-worker. Even for me, not a litigious person, that one makes some sense.)

#Comment made: 2002-05-07 22:51:36+00 by: Dan Lyke

I do like #10, Woods v. Phoenix Society of Cuyahoga County: "The court held that sanity was a protected class". But as an observer of the new economy revolution, I have to agree with the employer that firing the sane people is a right.

#Comment made: 2002-05-08 13:02:27+00 by: ziffle

Diane, I apologize if I was misunderstood. I would want the other employee fired, and probably he should be arrested as well.

#Comment made: 2002-05-08 14:39:30+00 by: sethg [edit history]

Remember, you can sue[Wiki] anybody for anything (well, unless you have a pathologically silly case, like Tyler v. Carter ). That doesn't mean you'll win[Wiki]. And even if you win, and convince a jury to award you some outrageous amount of money, that doesn't mean you'll actually get[Wiki] all that money -- large jury awards are often reduced on appeal.

#Comment made: 2002-05-08 14:56:20+00 by: Larry Burton

Small jury awards will often cost you more than the award to collect.

#Comment made: 2002-05-08 19:42:21+00 by: petronius

The problem with lawsuits isn't so much the winning or losing but the defending. Somebody sues me and they may not win a penny, but I will have to spend money defending myself. Nobody does contingency defense work, to the best of my knowlege.

Of course, the expense of prosecuting a suit is a de facto limit on contingency fees. A paralegal once told me that a major medical malpractice suit can cost $100k to pursue, win or lose. If you can win some gigabucks you hit the jackpot, if you lose you eat it, so you generally see these only in surefire cases, where malpractice is grotesquely obvious and the victim is cute and pathetic. This also explains the phenomonon of suing every doctor who even parked near the patient. First, you get their discovery as ammunition for the bit suit. Then, even if your case against the guy who only held the door is pretty thin, the insurance company might give you a few grand to make you go away. This then provides working capital for the main seige.