After an employee files an internal complaint, HR should review every reassignment or other significant job change. Even one negative move can support a retaliation lawsuit.
Recent case: Frank, who is black, was a corrections officer. Over the years, he filed many internal complaints about white corrections officers who allegedly were allowed to get away with mistreating black defendants. Four weeks after complaining that a white officer had mistreated 15 inmates, Frank was reassigned to a “floater” position. That meant his schedule changed.
He sued for retaliation and tried to link his many complaints to a long list of adverse actions against him.
However, the only one that stuck was the reassignment following shortly on the heels of his complaint. His case was dismissed. (Slaughter v. County of Allegheny, No. 2-11-CV-880, WD PA, 2013)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- Everyday rudeness and backbiting doesn't necessarily mean hostile work environment
- Is biggest-ever wage bias case headed to Supreme Court?
- Charging falsification? Make sure you can back up claim
- Don't fall into the retaliation trap! Have solid reason for firing complainer