An employee who files a discrimination complaint is protected from retaliation. But that doesn’t mean employers can’t make everyday moves—such as transferring someone who once complained of bias—without risking a lawsuit.
If you have legitimate reasons (such as the need to adjust work flow), courts will usually side with employers.
Recent case: Brenda O’Neal, who worked as a police sergeant, filed a discrimination complaint that was eventually settled. Over the next few years, O’Neal was transferred many times, but always retained the same title, basic duties, pay and benefits. When a problem arose at work, she wound up suing for retaliation.
The court dismissed the case, reasoning that mere transfers wouldn’t cause a reasonable employee to refrain from complaining in the first place. (O’Neal v. City of Chicago, No. 07-C-4788, ND IL, 2009)
- How to Fire an Employee the Legal Way: 6 Termination Guidelines
- One less tune for whistle-blowers to play: Sarbanes-Oxley Act trumps Colorado common law
- Workers' Comp: Ohio's Top Court Says 'Tough Luck' to Safety Slackers
- It's a man's world? Be ready to 'man up' in court
- Must we grant time off for rehab?