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Retaliation

Have a sick leave bank? Make it accessible to all who qualify

01/01/2008

If, like many employers, you maintain a sick leave bank for employees who exhaust their available leave time, remember this: You’ll risk a retaliation lawsuit if you deny the use of banked time to an employee who has filed a discrimination claim …

Independent investigation doesn’t have to be perfect

01/01/2008

If you receive a discrimination complaint, conduct a prompt and thorough investigation. Then have an independent party decide on any discipline. If the investigation was independent and the decision-maker was not the same person who allegedly discriminated against the employee, it won’t matter if the decision-maker was wrong—just that he or she believed the reason was genuine …

Whistle-Blowers must first pursue claims administratively

01/01/2008

Federal employees who report alleged wrongdoing by the agencies they work for are entitled to special protections for their whistle-blowing actions. But they also have obligations—if they believe they have suffered retaliation, they must bring an administrative claim before the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board before filing a lawsuit in federal court …

$1.27 million to BART worker for harassment, retaliation

01/01/2008

A California Superior Court jury has awarded a San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) employee $1.27 million for racial harassment and retaliation …

Trying to avoid romantic trouble? Make sure transfer doesn’t look like punishment

01/01/2008

Although there is no blanket rule against transferring someone who has been involved in a romantic relationship with a co-worker, make sure the transfer benefits the transferred party and can’t be viewed as punishment. Otherwise, the transferred employee may claim retaliation …

Employee saying he ‘May’ have medical problem triggers FMLA

01/01/2008

Once an employer knows an employee will need FMLA leave, it cannot use that knowledge to the employee’s disadvantage. That’s true even if it’s only possible that the employee may need leave. It raises serious suspicions about your motives if you fire an employee shortly after he delivers notice he may need FMLA leave—and practically guarantees a lawsuit …

Health insurer pays $1.8 million to settle sex harassment suit

12/01/2007

United HealthCare of Florida has settled for $1.8 million in a same-sex harassment and retaliation lawsuit involving a former regional vice president. A male senior account executive in the company’s Sunrise office claimed he was subjected to verbal sexual harassment by a male vice president …

Rule against document removal supports legit business need

12/01/2007

Does your organization have a rule against removing company documents from the workplace? If not, consider adding one. Documents should remain on the premises, and allowing them to “walk” can spell big trouble. For example, employees may be tempted to remove and copy documents they think will aid a later lawsuit against the company …

‘Blacklisting’ for prior EEOC complaints may be retaliation

12/01/2007

Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act outlaws retaliation against applicants or employees because they have filed EEOC complaints or participated in EEOC proceedings. But that prohibition applies equally to EEOC complaints that job applicants may have filed against other employers. In other words, “blacklisting” an applicant because you know she filed an EEOC complaint against another employer is illegal retaliation …

Just got served with court papers? It’s OK to impose already-Planned discipline

12/01/2007

Sometimes, employees who are having trouble at work think that filing EEOC complaints or lawsuits will save their jobs. It’s a ploy generally designed to paralyze management by raising the specter of a retaliation claim. But courts generally don’t hold it against an employer if it carries out a previously made discipline decision. A lawsuit or complaint doesn’t work like a cease-and-desist order …