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Transfer to slower-climbing position can equal retaliation

by on
in Employment Law,Human Resources

Be careful if you transfer an employee who filed a discrimination complaint to another position. Even if the new job provides the same benefits and pay, it may look like retaliation if the position comes with fewer advancement opportunities.

Recent case: Carol Hale filed a discrimination complaint against her employer, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. They settled the case. Then Hale was transferred to another position that paid the same—but she argued that the new job allowed fewer opportunities for advancement. She was also passed over for another promotion based in part on an assessment that she didn’t get along with others.

The court agreed in principle that the transfer might be retaliatory. It also said passing her over for the promotion might be retaliation. (Hale v. Napolitano, No. 08-CA-106, WD TX, 2009)

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