Punishing an employee for complaining about discrimination is retaliation even if it turns out that whatever the employee was complaining about wasn’t discrimination.
That’s why you should include information on avoiding any form of retaliation in all your training programs.
Recent case: Linda Williams, who is black and worked at a catalog sales center, complained to her supervisor that white employees were allowed to offer free shipping to frequent shoppers while she was not. She said that was race discrimination.
Williams was fired shortly after and filed a retaliation lawsuit.
The court said the case could go forward. Williams doesn’t have to prove she was discriminated against, just that the company retaliated against her for complaining about alleged discrimination. (Williams v. Jeremiah’s International Trading, No. 8:09-CV-152, MD FL, 2009)
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