Ever felt déjà vu when an employee claimed she was suffering retaliation because of a prior discrimination or harassment complaint? If what the employee describes sounds familiar, watch out.
You may have a serial retaliator on your hands, and those earlier incidents may end up being used to prove retaliation has occurred again.
Recent case: Robin, a crime prevention officer with the Delano Police Department, complained that her boss, Eddie, was sexually harassing her. Soon after, she found herself transferred to a different location, and had to work moving boxes in a hot building. She sued, alleging retaliation.
Robin then learned that at least one other woman had complained about Eddie. This worker’s complaint wasn’t that he had sexually harassed her, but that he nitpicked her about her uniform. The same supervisor who transferred Robin after she complained allegedly required the second woman to wear her full uniform in the summer heat and work outside until she quit. The supervisor allegedly announced that he thought this was funny and stated that he didn’t like “anyone who f—ks with him” and that he “gets rid of them.”
The police department argued that the testimony should be excluded. The court disagreed and said that the behavior was similar enough to be used as evidence of retaliation against those who complained about Eddie. (Moniz v. City of Delano, No. 1:13-Cv-00093, ED CA, 2015)
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