HR can’t right all wrongs. When a supervisor rashly fires an employee for filing a complaint, not even fast action by HR to reinstate the employee can save the company from liability.
Recent case: Within days of a transfer, Rebecca Young-Losee began complaining that her supervisor was calling her “bitch,” “retarded,” “crippled” and “loser.” She filed a complaint. At a meeting, the plant supervisor took the complaint, wadded it up and threw it in the trash, calling it “total bulls—t.” Then he told her never to come back.
HR tried to reassure Young-Losee that she still had a job, but she never returned. She sued.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that being terminated in that manner would cause a reasonable employee to think twice before complaining. That’s retaliation. (Young-Losee v. Graphic Packaging, No. 10-2012, 8th Cir., 2011)