By: Elaine Quayle
In reality mirroring a sitcom, when a hospital facilities supervisor arrived at work at 9 a.m. one Saturday morning, he found the “utility systems repairer operations leader,” whose workday started at 7:45 a.m., on the floor with a pillow, 2 blankets—and an alarm clock.
When the supervisor aroused the worker, he was told by the worker that he was just “relaxing,” and not sleeping. The worker is responsible for preventing malfunctions of the boiler that could cause an explosion.
Because the Chief Engineer was out of town, the supervisor and his supervisor wrote up the incident on a Request for Disciplinary Action Memo and gave the report to human resources.
Upon his return, the Chief Engineer reviewed the memo and filed a Removal Letter requesting the worker be terminated for endangering the safety of everyone inside the hospital building.
However, because of reports that the worker, and his supervisor, and coworkers did not get along, the hospital administrator demoted the worker rather than firing him. When his job was filled by someone 18 months younger, the worker filed a claim with the EEOC, charging retaliation for his demotion and age discrimination for his firing. He claimed that the supervisor had once said he wished all the older workers would retire, but he could offer no proof or collaboration of the statement.
Whoops! The worker forgot that his five other colleagues were all older than he. And … his “relaxing” was written up according to the company’s disciplinary policy. Therefore, it’s no surprise district court granted summary judgment to the hospital.
But it all still sounds like a sitcom episode.
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