Joking with your coworkers around the watercooler is one thing, but keep in mind what you think of as just fun, off-hand comments could lead to a lawsuit for your company.
In this clip from a Business Hour on why employers get sued (and how to avoid it), attorney Ryan Neumeyer is discussing how to avoid claims of age discrimination when it comes to succession planning. Ryan provides a real world example of what happened when a manager in a case candidly referred to an employee as an old fart.
The lesson to be learned from Ryan’s example? Even if you have a good relationship with your coworkers, you must watch out for stray comments that could later be interpreted as discriminatory. As attorney Miriam Rosen states at the end of the above clip, it’s only a joke until someone gets fired.
Marc Ayad, a summer legal and marketing intern at McDonald Hopkins, assisted with the writing of this blog.