Monday, September 27, 2010

Silence can be golden in defending discrimination cases

Ben Franklin once said, “As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.” In Young v. Galion, LLC (N.D. Ohio 9/17/10) [pdf] the court latched onto the plaintiff’s silence dismissing his age discrimination claim:

[T]he major flaw in plaintiff’s case is his inability to provide any evidence of a nexus between his termination and any discriminatory motive. He made no protest to that effect to the defendant, and never mentioned it in conversations with a fellow employee with whom he had a close relationship. Plaintiff’s deposition testimony was clear as regards the fact that he had no inkling that age bias purportedly entered into the decision to discipline or terminate him prior to meeting with an attorney subsequent to his termination.

One of the things I look for in defending any discrimination case is whether the employee complained of discrimination during his or her employment. While it is not required that one complained it certainly makes the claim of discrimination appear less believable if the plaintiff never raised the issue with anyone until the filing of the lawsuit.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or