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Court: Schedule change can be an adverse action

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Not every inconvenient workplace requirement can become grounds for a lawsuit. But something like a schedule change that really affects an employee can be seen by a court as serious enough to warrant litigation.

Recent case: When Sharon, a heterosexual woman, started working at a substance abuse treatment facility, her boss was a gay man. Sharon would eventually accuse him of favoring gay employees—both men and women—over straight employees.

Sharon claimed that when she complained about favoritism to her boss and other managers, she was punished by having her schedule changed.

Her supervisor informed her of the new schedule immediately after she told him she had signed up for a series of classes she needed to gain important professional certifications. The classes conflicted with Sharon’s new schedule. He allegedly told her to drop the classes or lose her job. She dropped one class and struggled with another.

Eventually, the boss was fired and Sharon stayed on. She sued any­way, alleging sexual orientation discrimination.

The court said there was enough evidence to proceed, based on the schedule change that adversely affected Sharon’s ability to complete her certification courses. (Hardy v. Watts Healthcare, No. B267161, Court of Appeal of California, 2016)

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