Lighter side: Man fired for urinating in cup claims discrimination

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If an employee urinates into a cup, can you fire him? That’s what furniture dealer American Signature did to former consultant Jerald Johnson, leading him to take the employer to court.

A stroke and hip replacement surgery had left Johnson’s body weak, and he commonly found himself unable to wait for the restroom. However, he neglected to tell his employer this during the interview – and also neglected to mention that he used a cane, something at which his supervisor openly noted displeasure.

Just two months into his employment, Johnson was in the break room with a co-worker when he sensed he wouldn’t reach the bathroom in time, so he grabbed a cup and shuffled into a corner – but didn’t quite make it. Before he was able to empty the cup in the bathroom, he was called to serve a client, and left it under the kitchen sink.

Should an employer have to put up with this behavior? Not necessarily, ruled the Illinois district court in a summary judgment last week. It said Johnson should have worn adult diapers.

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