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Don’t fear legit discipline after employee complains

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Some employees try to use an EEOC complaint as a shield against criticism and discipline. They hope their employer will think twice before disciplining them for fear of a retaliation suit.

Yes, a lawsuit is possible. That doesn’t mean you can ignore poor work.

Just make sure you can document everything. It’s especially important to show that the problems were ongoing—and predated the complaint.

Recent case: Vivian Dudley, who is black, filed an EEOC complaint alleging she was paid less than others in her classification. Shortly after, she was disciplined for time-keeping errors and hiring an intern without permission. She added a retaliation claim.

But she couldn’t show that her record was pristine before the EEOC complaint or that her employer’s stated reasons were wrong. In fact, she admitted the mistakes. The case was dismissed. (Dudley v. City of Monroeville, No. 11-11719, 11th Cir., 2011)

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