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Consistent equal treatment trumps most retaliation claims

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Make sure you evenly apply your leave policies to all employees.

Recent case: Rachel spent seven years as a college instructor while working toward her doctorate de­­gree, a requirement for being promoted to assistant professor.

She became pregnant in the seventh year and gave birth at the end of the spring semester. Since she still hadn’t finished her doctorate, she wasn’t promoted and instead received a one-year contract.

Rachel complained that this was sex discrimination. Then she re­­quested paid maternity leave instead of re­­turn­­ing to teach in the fall. Her request was denied because her baby was born in the spring and the policy limited leave to newborns.

She sued, alleging retaliation.

But since no one else had received such leave, the case was dismissed. (McBroom v. UNC, No. 11-CV-00217, ED NC, 2013)

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