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Dodge bogus retaliation suits by tracking exact date of every discrimination claim

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Here’s an important reminder for anyone who is authorized to receive internal discrimination complaints: Always mark the exact date of every complaint in case the complaint is used later as the basis for an employee’s retaliation claim.

Recent case: Faiz worked for the U.S. Department of Defense. He is an Asian-American Muslim of Pakistani national origin. During the last few years of his work for the department and as he approached retirement, his family relocated to its country of origin—Pakistan.

Faiz requested temporary deployments to Kuwait so he could be closer to his family. During his second deployment, he again requested an extension so that he could continue to work in the Middle East. He also complained to his local equal employment opportunity officer when his request for a one-year extension was denied. He believed the reason was his national origin.

A few days later, he was told that his current deployment was also being cut short by a month and that he should prepare to return to Texas. He was also denied rest and recreation leave he requested, since cutting his deployment short meant he wasn’t eligible anymore.

He sued, alleging retaliation for complaining about discrimination.

But the case was tossed out when it became clear that the decision to shorten his deployment was made in Texas before he went to the local EEO officer in Kuwait. Therefore, there was no retaliation. (Tiwana v. Hagel, No. 3-11-02887, ND TX, 2013)

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