The last post discussed the importance of training employees not to let prank callers talk them into strip searching co-workers. Today’s lesson is why, when interviewing people for supervisor positions, you should ask them how they deal with smelly, frequently absent employees with open sores.

Charlene Roby worked for McKesson Corporation for 25 years. She suffered panic attacks, which caused her to miss work and run afoul of McKesson’s attendance policy. Also, the medication she took made her smell bad. If that weren’t enough, she had open sores on her arms from nervously digging her nails into her skin.

Karen Schoener, Roby’s supervisor, was not overly sympathetic. Although she knew it was medication-related, she criticized Roby’s body odor to other employees. She also described the open sores as “disgusting” and ostracized Roby (by ignoring her greetings and questions, making disapproving facial expressions, making her cover phones during office parties, and belittling her in front of co-workers).

Roby was disciplined for her absences, even though McKesson knew they were related to her condition. Ultimately, McKesson terminated Roby’s employment. Roby became suicidal and developed agoraphobia. [Agoraphobia, of course, is a fear of open spaces and crowds. It should not to be confused with angoraphobia, a fear of fluffy rabbits.]

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If I am filing a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication, I will always create an issue regarding the prayer for punitive damages. The argument is this: even if the plaintiff can escape summary adjudication of the primary claim, there still must be some additional evidence to support punitive damages. This is a difficult