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Beware retaliation suits even after employee’s gone

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in Employment Law,FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

If you think your liability ends when an employee leaves, think again.

Employers can still be liable for retaliation if the employee complained about bias before she left and now claims you withheld compensation.

Recent case: University of Texas (UT) professor Kristie Santi complained that her supervisor favored male professors. When she learned her contract wouldn’t be renewed, she filed an EEOC discrimination complaint.

Her contract expired, but Santi tried to negotiate with the university to allow her to license materials she had worked on while at UT. The university refused, so she added a retaliation claim.

The court said post-termination compensation discrimination can be retaliation, but tossed this case out on a technicality. It turned out Santi never mentioned compensation in her lawsuit. (Santi v. University of Texas, No. 01-09-00186, Court of Appeals of Texas, 1st District, 2009)

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