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?
There’s danger in every aspect of firing, from WARN Act layoffs and exit interviews to constructive discharge and more.
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With the most recent U.S. Supreme Court pronouncement on retaliation, it’s now clearly impermissible to punish someone who is closely related to an employee who has filed an EEOC complaint or lawsuit. But you can protect yourself by limiting who within the company knows about litigation.
Score one for common sense: People who want a job they see posted have to apply before they can sue for not getting it. A phone call to HR that was never returned can’t be grounds for a failure-to-hire lawsuit.
It seems administrators at Philadelphia’s Chestnut Hill College didn’t know one of their employees as well as they thought they did. The Rev. James St. George had been teaching Bible studies, theology and justice courses at the Catholic college since 2009. When St. George wrote in a blog posting that he is gay, the college fired him.
Courts don’t like it when employees are treated unfairly. On the other hand, judges don’t want to serve as HR courts, either. That’s why they generally defer to management decisions that seem fair and honest. Judges prefer it when employers investigate allegations of employee wrongdoing before they fire someone—but they don’t require that the investigation be perfect.