Well, it’s that time of year again – what are you thankful for? Here are some Human Resources and employment law matters for which I am thankful. Please feel free to add your own in the comments.

I’m thankful that I’m not Trey Gowdy. The Republican Congressman from South Carolina and chair of the House Benghazi Committee is not out, but he’s definitely down — for the moment. He’s been sued, along with the Committee, by a former staffer, Air Force Reserve Maj. Bradley Podliska, who claims he was wrongfully discharged because of his military service obligation and because he refused to sufficiently target Hillary Clinton and the State Department. Rep. Gowdy and others on the Committee say that it was actually the opposite – that Maj. Podliska was the one who was obsessed with Mrs. Clinton and that the Committee had to tell him to back off. So, of course, the Major’s lawsuit includes a claim against Rep. Gowdy for defamation. Apparently this is the new thing — you make public allegations against someone, and when they say anything bad about you in defending themselves, you sue them for defamation. (But unlike Bill Cosby, Rep. Gowdy may be able to assert a “truth” defense.) To Maj. Podliska’s credit, the only thing he wants for the alleged defamation is a retraction and an apology – no money. Should be interesting. (NOTE: It’s too early to call anyone in this story a “turkey,” but somebody probably is.)

I’m thankful that I’m not the person who writes help-wanted ads for Vestra Inet of Toronto. The company came under well-deserved fire for putting the following in a help-wanted ad for a writer/SEO specialist: “Please note that the Position requires filling in the responsibilities [sic] of a receptionist, so female candidates are preferred.” (Emphasis added.) After the usual cyber-indignation was expressed, the company took down the ad and made kind of a non-apology apology.

I’m thankful that I am not the HR manager of these two people. A female, known only as “Christina,” announced her pregnancy on Facebook. How sweet. Then a male co-worker decided to offer his own greeting, which got more than 100 “likes”:

“Congratulations, Christina, I know you and Mark will be very happy. I hope that now that you’re pregnant, . . . you stop coming into my office offering sexual favors, just because I drunkenly slept with you at the retreat. It was a mistake. A huge mistake. . . . So while I congratulate you for bringing a child onto this earth, I also pray that this ends your psychotic, one-sided love affair with me. I also hope that your husband is smart enough to know that IT COULD BE ANYONE’S KID.”

This was the part that I could repeat. It gets worse. Was this a prank? If so, it wasn’t very nice.

If Christina really is “psychotic,” why is this guy rattling her cage now that she’s pregnant and has moved on? Sounds to me like he may be the one with an obsession.

Christina, meanwhile, has reportedly taken down her Facebook profile.

Is Christina being sexually harassed and discriminated against because of her pregnancy? Is her male co-worker a stalker, or is he a victim of Christina’s sexual harassment? HR emergency!!!

The November Employment Law Blog Carnival: Malaprops is up, at HR Examiner. Heather Bussing and John Sumser did a great job, so be thankful and don’t take it for granite.

I’m thankful that I am not a kid in this woman’s class. A substitute teacher assigned to Washington Elementary school in Oklahoma was arrested for a DWI on the way to school one morning. She appeared this week on Dr. Phil to claim that she was not intoxicated (even though she was on video admitting to the cops that she’d been drinking). Dr. Phil’s crew caught her on camera at the hotel on the morning of the show drinking a glass of wine before her interview. Oops.

Robin Shea is a Partner with the law firm of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP and has more than 20 years’ experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act), the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Act; and class and collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act and state wage-hour laws; defense of audits by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs; and labor relations. She conducts training for human resources professionals, management, and employees on a wide variety of topics.


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