Overview: In Verne v. Pelican Products, the MCAD found for the Respondent manufacturer and dismissed a complaint alleging discrimination based on national origin. The Complainant alleged that she was treated differently from non-Puerto Rican employees when she received a “final” warning for sending person emails at work and that she was subjected to hostile racial comments. Her separate complaint for retaliation had previously been dismissed by the MCAD because it was untimely.
Credible evidence established that, as soon as the Respondent’s HR Director became aware that another employee used an offensive epithet, she conducted an immediate investigation and terminated the offender the same day. The Respondent similarly took remedial action in the form of written discipline after another employee uttered a taunt about the Complainant. The hearing officer concluded that there were “some minor, albeit unpleasant, interactions in the workplace which the employer took aggressive steps to monitor and control,” but it was not a hostile work environment. The Complainant similarly could not establish a case for disparate treatment because her conduct in sending inappropriate emails was far worse than that of other employees who had received less discipline.