Employees who complain about discrimination are protected from retaliation—and even a small financial penalty against an employee may be enough to trigger a lawsuit.
Remember: The test for retaliation is whether a hypothetical reasonable employee would be dissuaded from complaining in the first place if he or she knew the consequences.
Recent case: Evelio Cunningham, who is white, worked with Hispanic co-workers. His supervisor was Hispanic. When Cunningham had an argument with a Hispanic co-worker, he got a written reprimand.
He complained to the EEOC, alleging that a Hispanic co-worker got away with just an oral reprimand for threatening another worker with bodily harm. This, he claimed, was race discrimination.
Shortly, Cunningham claimed his supervisor unfairly docked his leave balance for conducting union business, while Hispanic employees weren’t docked for their union activities. He said this was retaliation for his earlier filing of the EEOC complaint, and he added a retaliation charge.
In court, the employer argued that Cunningham had lost only about $80 in pay. It said that wasn’t enough to make a reasonable employee forgo filing an EEOC complaint.
Cunningham countered that he had also suffered anxiety after having his leave docked.
The court concluded that a small loss of pay plus emotional suffering was enough to constitute retaliation.
Fortunately for the employer, the supervisor was able to offer a solid reason for docking Cunningham’s pay. She said that, unlike other employees doing union work, Cunningham’s union activities sometimes interfered with his job. It dismissed his case. (Cunningham v. Geren, No. 09-333, SD TX, 2010)
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/11874/beware-even-small-penalty-can-be-retaliation "
- Savannah's Berkow dropped from LAPD sex-Discrimination suit
- Hey, boss, you better call HR! Warn managers against trying to resolve complaints informally
- Illinois union jobs jump despite poor economy
- Don't let tardiness influence FMLA leave
- Fairness, careful documentation are key to discipline process that will stand up in court