Beware firing for forwarding emails that might support retaliation claim

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Be careful before firing someone for violating email policies that prohibit forwarding company documents to a personal email account. If the forwarded documents support an EEOC or other discrimination complaint, and if the forwarding isn’t “disruptive,” firing the employee could trigger a retaliation claim.

Recent case: George, who is black, worked for Merrill Lynch. He was one of several employees who filed an internal complaint against a supervisor they alleged made “derogatory remarks about age, race and ethnicity.” An investigation concluded that the complaints couldn’t be verified, but Merrill Lynch removed the supervisor anyway.

George didn’t like his next boss, either. He complained that this supervisor had the “old mindset” of seating “the Negro at the back of the bus if he gets out of line.” He didn’t offer specifics.

Other workers began criticizing George for being “unprofessional,” “provoking” and “personally insu...(register to read more)

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