An HR manager walks into her nephew’s birthday party… and ends up suing the child for hugging her just a bit too enthusiastically.
Sounds like a one-liner or a skit on Saturday Night Live, but it’s no joke.
What amazes me is that this infamous 54-year-old New Yorker named Jennifer Connell, whose
$127,000 court case against her 12-year old nephew was just dismissed by a Connecticut jury, works as a human resources manager.
Trying to live in the shadow of such a laughable lawsuit – and, thankfully, proper outcome – must surely undermine any credibility she has with employees or executives with whom she has any contact.
To work in HR, it sure helps if you’re a people person. But how could an aunt who sues her nephew over such frivolous circumstances, claiming the then-8-year-old broke her wrist and caused years of physical pain, possibly be a people person? I’m sorry Ms. Connell, but accidents happen – especially around children.
It’s akin to the public ever being able to trust disgraced TV anchorman Brian Williams who admitting fabricating stories about his life and how it intersected with news events.
How could anyone ever take instructions from, or have any meaningful interaction with, this woman and keep a straight face? I can only imagine how challenging it must be for people who know about this litigation.
As a parent, I cannot imagine anyone ever taking one of my two young children to court over a loving embrace. A stranger? Maybe. But certainly not a friend or family member. That just crosses the line. It’s like the mafia code of honor – only, a child is involved.
As a journalist who has been covering the HR industry for 27 years, I can’t stop scratching my head about the callous disregard of humanity, which is the operative word in Ms. Connell’s chosen profession. HR is about helping, not hindering, people. I can only imagine what it must be like for her to gather with family members at Thanksgiving or other holidays – if she invited in the first place.
It’s not surprising at all that her case was dismissed in just 25 minutes. What I don’t understand is how such a ridiculous complaint ever got to court in the first place. If you’re that desperate for the money, then at least attempt to settle out of court!
It also makes me question what sort of employer-provided health insurance she received. The irony of an HR manager having inadequate coverage to deal with unexpected medical bills is inescapable. Whatever the case, let this be a warning to other HR managers: don’t sue a family member who’s a minor. It might just kill your career!
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