Do you require employees to use an internal grievance policy when they have a complaint about working conditions? That policy may apply to retaliation claims too, even if the employee has been fired. Failing to use the process may cancel the right to sue.
Recent case: Keryl was fired shortly after she sent a letter to a government agency accusing her employer of wrongdoing. All employees had agreed to always use the internal grievance process found in the handbook before suing for anything related to work. That process required a written notice.
Keryl didn’t submit anything in writing, claiming she had been retaliated against for writing the letter.
She sued, arguing the grievance policy couldn’t apply to fired employees. The court disagreed and dismissed her case. (Douglas v. Houston Housing Authority, No. 01-11-00508, Court of Appeals of Texas, 1st District, 2013)