There are some words that should never come from a supervisor’s mouth—including any statement that would seem to encourage an employee to drop an EEOC complaint. That just about guarantees that a retaliation or interference lawsuit will go to trial should anything adverse (like a discharge or demotion) happen to the employee to whom the supervisor was speaking.
Recent case: Stanley was a warehouse manager. He had open-heart surgery and was out for several weeks. When he returned to his job, medical restrictions limited the number of hours per week he could work.
He soon filed an EEOC complaint alleging that his employer refused to abide by his doctor’s orders. Stanley claimed retaliation for taking, interference with the right to and refusal to engage in the ADA’s interactive reasonable accommodations process.
Shortly after he filed the complaint, Stanley met with a supervisor to address supposed. Stanley claims during that conversation, the supervisor advised him that if he “got rid of” the EEOC case, “everything would be OK.”
Stanley didn’t drop his complaint and was fired almost immediately. Then he sued.
The court said the case should go to trial, based in part on the supervisor’s comment about the EEOC complaint. That alone, the court wrote, could be interference with Stanley’sor retaliation for exercising those rights in addition to retaliation for filing the original complaint. (Hanczyc v. Valley Distribution, No. 3-CV-10-2397, MD PA, 2012)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Don't make juries use their imaginations! Tell decision-makers to keep interview notes
- Employees must share duty in setting up accommodation
- Tennis coach's firing serves up lesson in employee discipline
- Time for a snap inspection: Make sure bulletin boards don't show signs of bias