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  • HR Specialist: Employment Law
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It’s up to HR: Act fast to fix supervisor gaffes

Supervisors say the darndest things. It’s up to HR to clear things up before some dumb comment lands your organization in deep legal trouble. Don’t delay! If you know the boss was in the wrong, correct the record ASAP and make things right—the sooner, the better. Add a heartfelt apology on behalf of the company, too.

Sink retaliation claims by engaging an outsider to investigate bias complaints

Using an outside entity to investigate internal discrimination or harassment complaints helps prevent retaliation lawsuits. That’s because there’s no reason for an outside investigator to take sides in the outcome.

Avoid retaliation lawsuits with these 4 best practices

Retaliation claims brought by unhappy employees—or really, really unhappy former employees—continue to trouble employers nationwide. Here are four recommendations for setting up systems that can help prevent retaliation claims in the first place and—acknowledging that no system can prevent all such claims—at least help the organization establish and prove possible defenses to claims of retaliation that do arise.

Case of the Week: Revoking remote work privilege isn’t basis for lawsuit

Employees who sue their employers for retaliation must prove that they experienced an adverse employment action. Being fired, demoted or transferred to a different location with lower pay generally qualify as adverse. But minor changes that don’t include lower pay, lost benefits or substantially different duties and responsibilities aren’t enough to justify a lawsuit.

How much could retaliation cost? Try $366 million

Employees frequently sue for retaliation if they experience backlash after complaining about race discrimination at work. If the victim is punished with a pay cut, demotion, transfer to a less desirable location or termination, employers can expect a retaliation lawsuit. In cases like that, employees don’t even have to prove they experienced discrimination. They just have to prove they were punished for complaining.

Banished to a cubicle: Does isolation = retaliation?

Anything that would dissuade a reasonable employee from complaining in the first place can be considered unlawful retaliation, including being isolated away from co-workers.

Whistleblower retaliation case also on Supreme Court’s docket

The U.S. Supreme Court will decide what the proper standard is for proving retaliation in a Sarbanes-Oxley Act whistleblower case. Depending on the outcome, what employers must show to support disciplinary action against a whistleblower could change.

Check for possible retaliation before approving discipline

Before approving a termination, always review the case details. Be on the lookout for signs that the action might be motivated by a supervisor’s attempt to retaliate against the employee.

No retaliation ever for invoking FMLA rights—even if employee may be ineligible

The 6th Circuit revived the FMLA retaliation claim of an attorney fired immediately after she requested unpaid leave to care for her two-year-old child at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OK to discipline worker who filed complaint

Make sure your organization’s supervisors understand that it’s perfectly legal to impose legitimate discipline on an employee who has filed a harassment or discrimination complaint.