Make it a policy to keep it confidential when conducting internal investigations into discrimination or harassment. That way, rumors and exaggerated claims won’t influence other employees who haven’t yet told investigators their side of the story. Employers that terminate employees for violating that confidentiality needn’t worry that doing so is retaliation, at least according to a recent 11th Circuit decision.
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Employees who are punished for complaining about alleged illegal discrimination can sue for that retaliation. And they don’t have to show that actual discrimination took place—just that they believed in good faith that it did. Still, that doesn’t mean that every vague complaint can be used as the basis for a retaliation claim.
Common sense says that if a manager hires someone knowing that she belongs to a protected class, the manager probably won’t turn around a few months later and fire the new employee because she belongs to that protected class. That’s why you should make it a policy that the same managers who make hiring decisions also make termination decisions.