• Did you hear about the guy who went into a rage when he got the shorter end of the wishbone?
    He just snapped!

In prior posts, I’ve described how Valentine’s Day and Halloween have been fowl holidays for employers.  Many a harassment or discrimination complaint has been based on those holidays.

But what about Thanksgiving? Everyone loves it, right?

Gobble gobble.

A search for some cases was as easy as, say, pumpkin pie.  And yes, there are aspects of this holiday that have led to lawsuits:

  • In 2015 and 2016, federal courts rejected claims of discrimination by an Hispanic Customs and Border Protection Officer who was forced to work on Thanksgiving, while allegedly junior and non-Hispanic officers did not.  The court mashed that small potatoes argument up saying there was no evidence that he was treated differently because of a protected characteristic.
  • The denial of vacation around Thanksgiving was also used in an over-stuffed argument but the court quickly melted that buttery claim by saying “the denial of one vacation request is simply not serious and tangible enough to materially alter Plaintiff’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.”
  • While some employees complain about having to work Thanksgiving, others say that the failure of the employer to schedule the employee to WORK on Thanksgiving is discriminatory too. But the court had a tough thyme with that argument.
  • Then there is a case of a movie theater’s President who complained about having to go over to his grandmother’s on Thanksgiving and said “I just don’t want to be—I don’t like to be around old people.”  A jury found that one of the theater’s employees had proven age discrimination in part because of that comment. Oh, and a comment about a “concentration camp” was just gravy on top.

There are more, of course, but most of them are turkeys — never making it past a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment.  Indeed, courts have had little patience for claims arising from this holiday.

So, we’ve come to the end of the post and I’ve run out of Thanksgiving Day puns.

I wish you, your families and your workplaces a very Happy Thanksgiving! I’ll start to look back on 2019 after the holiday and start to look ahead as to what 2020 may bring.