EMPLOYER DISCRIMINATION; EVIDENCE OF UNLAWFUL MOTIVATION; NEXUS – Employer Statements or Conduct; Threats
Single Topic for Decision 2450E
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504.12000 – Employer Statements or Conduct; Threats
A comment by a District official during her hearing testimony that “[a]t this point, I disbelieve most everything [charging party] says” does not demonstrate bias or animosity against charging party sufficient to constitute improper motive for taking adverse action, since the comment was made after she was involved in investigating the employee’s work conduct, and there was no evidence that she disbelieved employee when she was conducting the investigations. Hostile comments that do not bear on protected activities or a protected group are insufficient to demonstrate animus. Hostility by manager arose because she believed charging party was untruthful, not because of protected activity. A District official’s categorical declaration that allegations in a grievance over working conditions are completely false, made before thoroughly investigating the complaints, suggests improper bias, even when the grievance includes a personal accusation concerning the official’s marital fidelity. District official’s hostility toward employees who filed public complaint is demonstrated by her animus toward the attorney representing the employees. There is nothing unlawful in a manager denying accusations that he or she believes to be untrue, provided the communication does not also convey a threat or promise of benefit.