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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- When making promotion decisions, discrimination prohibited, fairness optional
- 10 things you never want to have to admit in a retaliation case
- When push comes to shove, no retaliation unless protected right was violated first