Specifics matter when workers allege discrimination

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employees who complain to their employers about discrimination are usually protected from retaliation. But they must at least mention the sort of discrimination at issue.

Simply protesting that an evaluation wasn’t fair won’t do the trick.

Recent case: Thomas complained to his boss that his evaluation was unfair. But when he later filed a disability bias lawsuit, he didn’t cite any specifics to support his argument that he had been retaliated against for questioning his evaluation.

The court tossed out the claim. It concluded that nothing in Thomas’ response to the evaluation mentioned his disability (multiple sclerosis) or requested an accommodation. His response therefore wasn’t protected activity and couldn’t be the basis for a retaliation lawsuit. (Bower v. City and County of San Francisco, No. 11-15632, 9th Cir., 2012)

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