The United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over Michigan employers, has joined a growing number of federal courts holding that employers are liable for co-worker retaliation. The decision, in Hawkins, et al., v. Anheuser-Busch, increases employers’ liability when an employee retaliates after another worker has complained about improper conduct.
The Hawkins case makes it clear that employers must carefully investigate complaints of retaliation and take appropriate disciplinary action against the retaliator to avoid liability.
Harassment on the brewery line
Anheuser-Busch brewery employee Bill Robinson had been sexually harassing several co-workers. When one female employee complained about sexual harassment, Anheuser-Busch investigated and fired Robinson. However, the company had to reinstate him after he filed a union grievance.
Several years later, employee Cherri Hill complained tha...(register to read more)