I’m about to say a scary word: terrorist. And just like that, the HR Update is up to threat level orange.
Hilton Hotels recently escaped a retaliation suit in which a former employee claimed he was fired for reporting discrimination. The employee, Walid El Sayed, an American Muslim of Egyptian descent, had complained to his supervisor that a co-worker called him a “Terrorist Muslim Taliban.” Three weeks later, El Sayed was terminated.
Hilton Hotels was able to show they did not discharge El Sayed in retaliation for the complaint, but actually fired him because they discovered employment history omissions on his application – which El Sayed admitted to be true. Hilton’s personnel policy holds such an offense as grounds for dismissal.
The court’s decision for dismissal stated that “proximity of events” is not enough to prove retaliation – thus, Hilton won the case without going to trial, giving another example of how important it is to be able to provide clear, documented, and non-discriminatory reasons for adverse employment actions.