Employees who claim they were transferred as punishment for complaining won’t get far if they sue. That’s because courts recognize an employers’ right to manage its work force, and that minor changes in job duties aren’t enough to justify a lawsuit.
Recent case: Correctional counselor Robert Hart, who is white, wanted to work at another facility, but a black woman was transferred instead. Hart complained, but was then moved to a new job that came with additional responsibilities. Hart sued, alleging that he was being punished for complaining.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons argued that there were only minor differences between the positions, and Hart hadn’t lost any pay, benefits or promotion opportunities. That was enough for the court to toss out the case. (Hart v. Attorney General, No. 10-13628, 11th Cir., 2011)
- Ambiguous answers may prompt retaliation charge
- Include federal jury service protection in your employee handbook and policies
- Go ahead and set up employee surveillance, but be careful how you pick your spots
- States take the lead in contractor misclassification crackdown
- Sick pay after suspension doesn't count against unemployment