'Bad Blood' Discrimination Claim Tossed

December 14, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employees in a dispute with their boss can't sue that supervisor for communicating that bias to a successor supervisor, a Philadelphia federal judge says.

US Magistrate Judge Jacob P. Hart ruled that even if Philip DiBartolo’s original boss did turn his successors against DiBartolo, any negative actions by the later bosses would legally be nothing more than the “ill effects” of the original boss’s conduct, according to a Legal Intelligencer report.

So Hart threw out DiBartolo’s claims against bosses Dr. Bruce Davidson and attorney Jessee Milan because the statute of limitations had expired on them. DiBartolo worked for the Philaelphia Health Department.

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Hart also found that nearly all of the actions that DiBartolo complained about were not legally considered “adverse employment actions,” such as letters of reprimand and the denial of a promotion that he was not qualified to apply for.

DiBartolo complained that Davidson retaliated against him after DiBartolo filed a union grievance about Davidson’s alleged hiring of non-union workers to do union work.

He also said he was punished because he had two meetings, in May and October 1996, with the lawyers for eight African American employees who had filed racial discrimination charges against the city.

According to the suit, DiBartolo has worked for the city since November 1988 — first in the AIDS Activities Coordination Office (AACO) as an investigator and then as a supervisor in its surveillance program. In 1992, he was transferred to the Health Department’s tuberculosis unit.

The case is DiBartolo v. City of Philadelphia.

 – Fred Schneyer                                     editors@plansponsor.com