HR Strange But True!
July 08, 2005

Kanu R. Gandhi filed a lawsuit alleging that he was forced out of his job at least in part because of his famous grandfather: Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian political and spiritual leader who pioneered the use of nonviolent protest.

And what was Kanu Gandhi's job?

Working as a weapons scientist for the U.S. Army.

Gandhi, who lives in Hampton, VA, resigned from his civilian Army job in 1996 under threat of termination, according to the Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Hampton Roads, VA. Gandhi, 64 at the time, commenced a long battle with the government, first through administrative channels and then in the courts.

In his lawsuit, he alleged that his immediate supervisor criticized his heritage and forced him to resign to make room for a younger scientist. The Army countered that Gandhi's real problem was poor work performance, including missed deadlines and erratic behavior.

A magistrate judge in Norfolk sided with the Army; so did a U.S. District Court judge, who granted the government's motion to dismiss the case. Gandhi then appealed the dismissal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Richmond, VA. But in January, the appeals court said it could find "no reversible error" in the lower court's ruling and let it stand.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Kanu Gandhi was raised by his grandfather on a rural commune in India and moved to the United States to pursue studies in mathematics. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the newspaper says, he spent nearly 30 years with the Army, "developing safer, more effective weaponry."

Source: The Virginian-Pilot

Not all of us have the resources of the federal government on hand to fend off employee lawsuits. But there is Managing an HR Department of One, the BLR guide to compliance and best practices for small businesses. Prevention is always the best cure!


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