Not every complaint amounts to “protected activity” that shields an employee from retaliation.
Recent case: Carolyn complained to HR that black employees were held to tougher attendance standards than their white co-workers. HR discovered some isolated examples where that happened and counseled managers.
That didn’t satisfy Carolyn, who sent a rambling email accusing an HR representative of slashing her tires, sneaking in her house and putting a snake in her bed. Asked by alarmed executives to undergo a fitness-for-duty test, Carolyn sued instead, alleging the exam was retaliation for protected activity.
The court said it wasn’t protected, since her email didn’t raise discrimination issues. The case was dismissed. (Warrick v. Motiva, No. 14-13-00938, Texas Court of Appeals, 2014)