- A transgender employee who was allegedly fired due to her "bad attitude" and in retaliation for complaining about discrimination and poor treatment can proceed with her claims, a federal district court has ruled (Milo v. Cybercore Technologies, LLC, No. 18-cv-03145 (D. Md. Jan. 13, 2020)).
- Megan Milo was hired a few months before publicly transitioning, at which point other employees were told Milo should be referred to with "she" and "her" pronouns and be treated with dignity and respect. Nonetheless, Milo said she was deliberately misgendered, hassled about her clothing choices and put on a performance improvement plan after a co-worker complained he was "walking on eggshells" around her. Milo was eventually told she could "take a layoff" or "be fired because of her 'bad attitude.'" After her termination, Milo was replaced by a cisgender employee.
- A federal district court in Maryland noted that the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, but neither party sought to delay this case in the meantime. While noting that the High Court's decision could affect the viability of Milo's case, the court said her termination "plausibly resulted from her attempts to 'stick up for herself' in the face of discriminatory treatment by her coworkers." There also was evidence she was "terminated in retaliation for her continued complaints to management and to her co-workers about discrimination." Accordingly, it allowed the suit to move forward.
The extent of Title VII's protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is still up in the air, as the court noted, but employers should strive to create a culture of inclusivity and respect regardless, multiple sources have told HR Dive.
Ninety percent of workers say they have been bullied at work, according to a Monster poll, with over half (51%) reporting bullying by supervisors. Close to 40% said they were bullied by a coworker, while 4% were bullied by someone else (such as a client or a customer).
Workplace bullying is particularly damaging when it comes from a supervisor, compromising employees' mental well-being and also their judgment, according to a study from Portland State University. Bullied workers are even more likely to forget safety procedures.
To help stop bullying in its tracks, HR should conduct regular training and also ensure that aggressive behavior is not rewarded in the form of promotions and praise, experts say; additionally, all allegations of bullying should be taken seriously and investigated promptly and thoroughly.