Old sayings are often rooted in truth. "You can't judge a book by its cover" is one of these sayings, and it has been repeated for decades.
The adage comes to mind when reading the story of a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging discrimination on the basis of race, gender and age. The proverbial "book" in this case is a white man and former manager. Based on stereotype alone, one might think he would be named as a defendant in employment discrimination litigation. The assumption would be incorrect.
Though the case was not filed here in Milwaukee, it contains elements that will sound familiar to many in our area.
The 51-year-old Tennessee man filed his claim against his state's Department of Corrections. At the time he was fired, he was the Chief of Finance and Accounting and a state employee of 20 years.
The plaintiff notes in court documents that after another managerial position was eliminated, he had asked for a raise for himself and others who took on additional duties as a result. He claimed it was at that point that his supervisor began to set the stage for termination.
In his next work evaluation, his supervisors noted that he did not meet expectations. The man also alleges that his supervisors were all female and that they created a hostile work environment.
Late last summer, the man wrote to a DOC administrator explaining the "gross misconduct" that occurred in his situation and that his work review "included falsehoods about him."
Within a month, he received a "last chance" notice. After requesting the documentation that showed he had been counseled for his alleged shortcomings, he was fired within two days.
Here in Milwaukee, workers in similar situations can speak with an employment law attorney experienced in age, gender and race discrimination litigation.