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Lost the window office? Sorry, that’s not retaliation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Sometimes, after an employee has filed a discrimination complaint, it seems like anything an employer does is fodder for a retaliation charge. Fortunately, courts don’t always buy it, concluding that minor changes aren’t enough to dissuade a reasonable employee from complaining in the first place. And that’s the test for retaliation.

Recent case: When Michael Lopez didn’t land a promotion he was going for, he sued for race discrimination. Months later, his employer reorganized the office space where he worked. As a result, Lopez lost his window office, as did several other employees. He added retaliation to his lawsuit.

The court nixed that idea. It said merely losing a window wasn’t enough, comparing that to truly adverse office moves, like placing an employee in a closet—something that courts have ruled to be retaliation. (Lopez v. Tech­ni­cal Concepts, No. 09-C-5551, ND IL, 2011)

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