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$8 million award prompts Chipotle to settle

The verdict grabbed the attention of company executives: The Chipotle restaurant chain quickly tendered a settlement offer when a California jury awarded almost $8 million to a former manager.

In the clear on sexual harassment charges, but still on the hook for supervisor retaliation

It’s true your organization may not be liable for co-worker harassment if the harassed employee knew how to report harassment but failed to use the system. However, there can still be consequences if a supervisor retaliates against an employee who complained or threatened to complain but didn’t actually report the harassment.

Keep some records from HR decision-makers

Sometimes, it makes a lot of sense to build a virtual wall between HR staff who handle discrimination complaints and manage litigation and those who review applications and requests for promotion.

As early as possible, address every harassment complaint

It’s essential to respond promptly to every harassment complaint.

Minor annoyance doesn’t warrant lawsuit

Few courts want to mediate petty disputes. Judges have more important matters to attend to. Just ask the judge who issued a caustic ruling in this recent case.

Don’t let employee’s whistleblower status dissuade you from legitimate discipline

To win a retaliation case, the worker would have to prove that the discipline was motivated by a desire to punish him or her for making the report. That’s unlikely to succeed if 1) the discipline began before the safety problem was reported or 2) it is clear that any other worker would have been disciplined for the same rule violation.

Plane truth: JetBlue’s lesson in ‘safety retaliation’

Make clear to your supervisors that it’s unlawful to punish employees because they raise complaints about customer or worker safety.

Employee fired shortly after filing complaint? Brace yourself for a retaliation lawsuit

An employee who complains about perceived discrimination may be wrong, but filing a complaint still counts as protected activity. If she files an EEOC complaint or a lawsuit, firing her shortly after she complains is just asking for a retaliation claim.

Keep complete records of complaints to counter last-minute legal claims


Here’s some good news from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals: The court, which covers Minnesota employers, turned down a petition to allow an employee to introduce a new discrimination claim that he failed to clearly outline in his original lawsuit.

Think twice before firing safety whistleblower


Before you discipline or discharge anyone who has filed safety complaints, make sure you have rock-solid reasons for doing so. Otherwise, punishing a safety whistleblower may mean liability for retaliation and punitive damages.

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