You Were Genetically Built To Work Like A Dog, KaBobby!

Here’s one last post for the old year, may it rest in peace.  And it’s a doozy.*

(Apology upfront: the employee at issue was allegedly told that he was “genetically built” to work two jobs because of his national origin, not to work like a dog. I took a little poetic license because it sounded a little crazier).

A North Carolina mattress company mechanical engineer from India felt that he was being overworked – until, he says, he was referred to a psychiatrist, forced to take medical leave and then fired.

He just filed a race, national origin and disability suit claiming that his supervisor “disregarded [his] concerns and directed [him] to continue performing dual jobs based on the imprudent and nonsensical belief that ‘Indian people’ are somehow genetically built to perform two jobs.”

The complaint alleges that the supervisor “told the plaintiff that ‘Indian people’ are accustomed to doing several jobs and, because the plaintiff was Indian and a senior (older), he would have to perform dual jobs.”

I never heard of this particular stereotype before: “genetically built” to work two jobs.

Wow. Talk about ridiculous stereotypes. I’m speechless.

Maybe associates at OldLaw/BigLaw who work the equivalent of two jobs were operantly conditioned (or coerced) to work that hard, but genetically built for it?

Nah.  (But at OldLaw/BigLaw – who knows?  Maybe they’re being bred that way now).

Anyway, to round out the context of a race and national origin lawsuit, plaintiff says that his nickname is “Bobby,” and alleges that he was “repeatedly called ‘KaBob’ or ‘KaBobby’ by his supervisor, who suggested he open a restaurant named ‘KaBobby.’”

Nice touch by the supervisor to make sure that plaintiff is able to produce evidence of discriminatory animus.

But what about the alleged disability claim, you may ask?

Well, it is alleged that “the workload took a toll on” plaintiff’s health, his doctor continually but in vain requested that his workload be reduced, he was put him on a “Performance Improvement Plan” (a “PIP”), and was ultimately “referred to a psychiatrist for sleeplessness, loss of appetite, adjustment disorder and anxiety.”

He was fired “less than three weeks after he returned on a restricted basis.”

For its part, the mattress company says that it is “committed to employment practices that are free of discrimination and in compliance with all applicable laws.”

Happy New Year!

*Thanks to a longtime reader and friend, James Cohen (no relation, we don’t think), who brought this case to my attention.

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Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]