While I’m taking some time off, I’m republishing some prior posts that still have relevance today. And as the old TV slogan says, if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you! Today, with Season 3 of Ted Lasso in full swing, I look back to the Season 1 workplace lessons from one of my
One of my favorite finds during the pandemic has been Ted Lasso – the Apple TV breakout hit. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about an American football coach who gets hired for an English Premier League soccer (or the “other football”) team.
At least that’s what it’s ostensibly about.
But not really.
In 2008 (some 12 years ago), on this same 9/11 anniversary, I posed this question:
So, seven years later, are employers in the state better prepared to address a similar emergency should it happen? Perhaps it will be a bird flu outbreak, or a mass blackout, or something else that no one has thought
Over the weekend, I asked my colleague, Chris Engler, to think of any employment law lessons that could be divined from the victories of the UConn Men’s Basketball team. He reminds us in the post below that preparation still matters. Of course, this isn’t the first time this blog has written about the UConn Huskies (see 2009 and 2011). Will 2014 bring another championship?
This past weekend, the UConn men’s hoops team reminded us that hard work and thorough preparation can prevail in a contest that looks tough to win on paper. A recent federal court decision shows that those same qualities serve Connecticut employers well too.
The alleged facts are told in the court’s decision: Martin Donovan, a longtime Yale University administrator, was terminated back in 2010 after an investigation revealed numerous problems with his management style. Donovan sued for age discrimination based on three comments by his supervisors.
The background facts are important. A few months before his termination, when Donovan was 61 years old, his supervisor asked him about rumors that he was planning to retire. When Donovan vehemently denied the rumors, the supervisor expressed relief that Donovan would continue working.
Previously, another supervisor had commented on other employees’ ages in Donovan’s presence. The supervisor first conveyed his satisfaction that an accountant left and was replaced by “someone younger.” Later, the supervisor mentioned that a researcher was too old for his research to be valid.
Despite these comments, the federal court for the District of Connecticut concluded that they weren’t enough to show age discrimination. In doing so, the court provided some insight into how an employer can avoid an age discrimination claim. (Readers, get out your notepads.)
First, the court highlighted the thoroughness of the investigation into Donovan’s managerial problems. The investigators were theoretically impartial, being from another Yale unit, and they interviewed and observed nearly every employee in the department. This convinced the court that these problems weren’t just a pretext.
That brings us to Takeaway #1: Thoroughly investigate and document performance issues, such as Donovan’s managerial problems, as soon as they arise. Yale’s comprehensive investigation was its saving grace in this case.
On a related note, here’s Takeaway #1a: An employer probably has more pressure to conduct a solid investigation if there was a recent incident involving an employee’s protected status. To try to show a pretext, Donovan emphasized that his termination came mere months after the retirement conversation. While the court here wasn’t convinced, another court viewing somewhat different facts might be. Again, consistent and accurate documentation of issues should avoid this dilemma.…
Since I’m a lifelong Connecticut resident (and big UConn basketball fan), it seems almost a requirement that I dedicate a post today to the Huskies’ NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament championship last night.
And of course, this being an employment law blog, I’ve spent some time thinking that there must be a way to translate that victory…
Over two (!) years ago, I posted on how you could learn various employment law lessons from television shows such as Lost or The Office.
Among the lessons at the time: Make Alliances, Follow your Instincts and Find Success as a Team.
Another theme that the show continually relied upon: If you can’t live together, you’ll die alone. It’s…
Before the World Series started, I put my word on the line (and the blog) with a friendly wager with Jon Hyman, a rabid Phillies fan and the author of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog. Whoever lost would have to write about the winning team and tie it into some themes about employment law.…
Thank you to all the attendees of our webinar earlier this afteroon on "Ricci v. DeStefano – What Employers to Know". The attendance was up substantially over our first webinar and the feedback has been terrific.
In case you missed it, however, you’re not out of luck. You can view and download the Powerpoint slides…