Quick: What’s the fastest-growing form of illegal discrimination claimed by U.S. employees? If you guessed race, sex or age bias, you’d be wrong.
Claims of retaliation — in which employees claim they were punished for an earlier, legal complaint — now account for 30% of all EEOC claims, up from 22% a decade ago.
A landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer cleared the way for such lawsuits by establishing a broader legal standard for what counts as illegal retaliation. (Burlington Northern v. White) To rise to the level of retaliation, an employer’s action must be “materially adverse” enough to dissuade a reasonable worker from filing a discrimination charge.
Now, lower courts are starting to interpret that ruling and define what that standard means in individual cases. The news is good for employers: In most cases, courts have said that, to be “materially adverse,” an employer’s actions must be more than the trivial annoyances and petty slights that often occur at work.
Recent case: Manal Hanani, an employee of Egyptian descent, filed an EEOC national-origin claim after she was passed over for promotion. She later added a retaliation charge because she said the company began editing her written reports more heavily after she filed her original claim. Plus, Hanani had to do more microfilming, which meant she sometimes had to stay late.
The court tossed out her retaliation claim, saying none of those slights and inconveniences amounted to the sort of “materially adverse” actions that the Supreme Court meant when it came up with the new retaliation standard. (Hanani v. State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Resources, et al., No. 05-3157, 3rd Cir., 2006)
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/3023/annoyance-or-illegal-retaliation-courts-draw-the-line "
- Rite-Aid, ex-worker settle disability lawsuit for $250K
- Whistle-blower retaliation just got more expensive in N.Y.
- If worker on RIF list has sought reasonable accommodations, be prepared to justify
- What's likely to happen when an employee waits two months to charge harassment?
- 10 ways an attorney will attack you on the stand