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Employees who complain about discrimination or harassment are protected from retaliation. But some of them mistakenly believe that complaining makes them invincible. That’s not true. Employers can discipline any employee who deserves it—including those who have complained—as long as the rules are applied fairly.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that an employee who was fired shortly after his fiancée filed a bias charge against their employer may sue for third-party retaliation under Title VII. According to the court, the employee could be considered an “aggrieved person” because he was “well within the zone of interests sought to be protected by Title VII.” What's the practical impact for employers?
Judges don’t want your job. They don’t see courtrooms as publicly funded HR offices, and will often try to defer to employer decisions as much as possible. That’s a huge advantage for employers. Capitalize on that by giving the court something to hang a favorable decision on. That something is often a clear and fair disciplinary process.
Good news for employers: The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employee can’t wait until losing one lawsuit to file another one based on the same events, even if the second lawsuit involves a different law. Employees have to file related claims together.