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Long gap after complaint won’t support retaliation claim

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

A federal court has ruled that a two-year gap between an employee’s discrimination complaint and alleged retaliation is too long. Otherwise, employers could face retaliation claims years or even decades after resolving an original complaint.

Recent case: Erika and two other minority women worked for Lowe’s. Each complained that they sometimes encountered racially insulting graffiti at work. The company removed the offensive materials and started policing the workplace more aggressively.

Two years later, the women were fired for allegedly scheming to get improper discounts for Erika.

The women sued, alleging retaliation for complaining about the racial graffiti. Each claimed the discount allegations were false.

The court threw out their retaliation claim, reasoning two years was too long a gap to suggest retaliation. (Nelson, et al., v. Lowe’s, No. 3:11-CV-1497, ND TX, 2012)

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