Employees sometimes get angry if they’re implicated when a co-worker complains about alleged discrimination. They may retaliate by ostracizing the complainer.
But that’s not enough to hold the company liable for retaliation—as long as it never knew about the problem.
Recent case: Amtrak employee Dannette Gonzalez complained tothat she was being given more difficult labor assignments than her male co-workers. After they found out about her complaint, her co-workers gave her the silent treatment.
She later sued, alleging that their behavior constituted retaliation.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It said that as long as the company didn’t know about the co-worker conduct, it wasn’t responsible. (Gonzalez v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation, No. 09-35422, 9th Cir., 2010)