Sometimes, employees who have complained about real or imagined discrimination look for evidence that they’re being punished for complaining. Then, when something happens at work that may be completely unrelated to the complaint (e.g., a missed raise because of budget constraints or job cuts due to business cycles), they cry retaliation.
Your best protection is to keep detailed records of all pay increases and merit payments, including who got what and why. That way, you’ll be prepared when someone cries retaliation for not getting an expected pay increase. You’ll be able to show he or she was treated the same as everyone else.
Recent case: Salome Fierros sued her employer for discrimination in 1999. Then, when she got extra paid leave in lieu of a pay raise in 2001, she said it was retaliation. But her employer came to court with proof that everyone got the paid-leave substitution because of budget shortfalls. Plus, it showed the court that Fierros had received significant pay increases both before and after she filed her lawsuit.
Based on the employer’s excellent records and logical explanations, the court tossed out the retaliation lawsuit. (Fierros v. Texas Department of Health, No. 06-50873, 5th Cir., 2007)
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