Lessons from the Courts: Sept. 2009

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,HR Management,Human Resources

Discipline one day after complaint? See you in court

Meslu Tewold, a native of Eritrea, complained to HR about being passed over for a promotion. The next day, his boss issued a formal warning about Tewold’s productivity. Until then, Tewold had never been written up. When more discipline followed, Tewold sued for discrimination and retaliation. The timing was enough for the court to send the case to trial. (Tewold v. Owens & Minor, DC MN)

The lesson: Courts will always look at the length of time between the employee’s legal complaint and the alleged adverse action. Less time equals greater odds the court will see your actions as illegal retaliation.

Obscure terms could trigger race-bias suit

Construction worker Nathaniel Blackmore, who is black, overheard a co-worker use the term “n*****head” in a conversation and assumed it was being used to describe him. After being fired for attendance problems, he sued, citing the...(register to read more)

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