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High bar for retaliation case when someone else is victim

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

Sometimes, employees don’t have enough information to judge whether something they observe at work is discrimination—or a legitimate management action.

Recent case: Police Officer Timothy Foxx received additional duties, including deciding who participated in training programs. Foxx didn’t receive a higher rank or more pay.

When Foxx’s superior officer disagreed with one of his training decisions (he told Foxx to never again register a particular female officer for training), Foxx protested, citing possible sex discrimination.

Then he lost the training coordinator position, but no other benefits or pay. He sued for retaliation.

The court rejected his lawsuit, concluding no adverse employment action had occurred—he had merely lost one of many duties. Plus, it wasn’t clear that discrimination had occurred. There could have been some other reason to deny training. (Foxx v. Town of Fletcher, No. 1:07-CV-336, WD NC, 2008)

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