david foleys blog

David Foley's Labor and Employment Law Blog

Monday, September 26, 2011

Grumbler vs. Yes Man

This week at Catholic churches, the Gospel readings again turned to work on a vineyard.  The reading was Matthew 21: 28-32. In this passage, the mettle of two different sons is compared.  Neither son is ideal, one because of his attitude and the other because of his lack of follow through, but one is clearly better to have around.  Employment discrimination cases often hinge on disparate treatment evidence comparing the misdeeds of one employee to another, so you might find it interesting to take a look at the passage:

28 "What do you think? A man had two sons; and he went to the first and said, `Son, go and work in the vineyard today.'
29 And he answered, `I will not'; but afterward he repented and went.
30 And he went to the second and said the same; and he answered, `I go, sir,' but did not go.
31 Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
I wonder if there has ever been a disparate treatment case where an initially insubordinate but ultimately obedient employee is compared with a "yes man" who ultimately fails to actually do what he says he will. Would it be appropriate to cite Matthew 21?

Last week's post on a Jon Hyman inspired vineyard parable here, and next week will be the last of three parables on vineyards.

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