Sometimes, an employee isn’t a good fit for a particular job assignment and gets frustrated that things aren’t working out. Employers that transfer such an employee with the genuine intent to give her a fresh start elsewhere probably won’t find themselves in legal hot water. That’s true even if the employee had filed an EEOC charge—as long as the new job has similar duties, responsibilities, pay and other benefits.
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Don’t expect to get a case tossed out just because the complaint is vague. The fact is, courts are willing to let an employee continue a quest for a big jury award as long as the complaint puts the employer on notice about the essentials, if not the specifics, of the case.
Employees who complain about alleged discrimination are protected from retaliation for doing so. In order for the employee to win a lawsuit, the retaliatory act must be adverse—that is, it must be an act that affects the employee in more than an inconsequential way. In a recent case, an employee claimed that by merely ignoring her complaint, her employer was retaliating. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals nixed that idea.
It’s difficult to predict which employee will be the next to sue. That’s why your best defense is to treat every major employment-related decision as a potential lawsuit. How? Back it up with a solid, business-related justification.
Employees who complain about alleged discrimination are protected from retaliation for complaining. That protection, however, isn’t unlimited. There’s a huge difference, for example, between an employee who calmly reports that he has been discriminated against and someone whose complaints sound more like threats of physical harm.
Some employees seem perpetually unable to get along with others. They argue, act insubordinate and generally make life miserable for other employees who are trying to get work done. Don’t hesitate to fire them if they refuse to change their ways.
If you offer short-term disability (STD) benefits for employees who can’t work because of illness, you probably insist on medical documentation. If the employee doesn’t provide that information within the reasonable timeline your STD plan requires, you can count the absence against the employee and terminate her.