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'I Hate Teena Club' Leads to Employee's Termination

Further proving what your mother told you when you were five years old ("If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all") is the case of Sindoni v. County of Tioga. In this bizarre case involving employees of the County of Tioga, N.Y., Sindoni, a senior typist, had her employment terminated after her personal animosity for co-worker "Teena" went well beyond the standard office squabble.

As discussed in the opinion issued last week by the New York Supreme Court, Sindoni and others went so far as to form a club known as the "I Hate Teena Club." Members of the "IHTC" allegedly wore ribbons to demonstrate their membership, "and made threatening and intimidating comments to other coworkers who informed the administration of the existence of such club."

In addition to a "loud verbal exchange" between Sindoni and Teena, Sindoni also admitted to keeping a calendar of Teena's late arrivals and early departures from work, being a member of the "IHTC," and to wearing the ribbon. Witnesses testified that Sindoni attempted to recruit others to join the "IHTC," as well.

Sindoni argued on appeal that the penalty of termination was excessive, and that none of the other five club members were terminated. The court, however, upheld the termination, noting that the hearing officer had found that Sindoni was "the only employee who made threats to the person or property of others," was the "main player in the hate club," and "had not expressed any remorse regarding her conduct."

Sindoni's attorney, Daren J. Rylewicz, said he could not understand how "essentially six women committed the same or similar conduct and five women were not fired." Rylewicz said that of the other five club members, one was suspended for one month, two were suspended for five days and two received letters of reprimand.

Lesson? No hate clubs at work.

Posted by Bruce Carton on November 19, 2009 at 03:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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