Now’s a good time to remind supervisors and managers that they must keep a cool head if an employee threatens to take a complaint to the EEOC or the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Angrily accusing the employee of insubordination or disloyalty will probably be viewed as retaliation for engaging in protected activity.
Recent case: Ryan Lord complained that co-workers were sexually harassing him and demanded thatmake it stop. When nothing improved, he said he would take his case to the EEOC or the Illinois Department of Human Rights. He was fired the next day after a supervisor allegedly told him that such threats were inappropriate.
He sued and the court said the case should go to trial. His threat was protected activity and firing him could be seen as retaliation. (Lord v. High Voltage Software, No. 09-CV-4469, ND IL, 2010)
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- Don't think federal laws always trump state claims
- Address sexual harassment fast! It's the right--and smart--thing to do
- Just requesting FMLA leave forms isn't protected activity