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Don’t fear punishing boss who threatens retaliation

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employees who complain about discrimination or other problems by going to HR shouldn’t be punished for doing so.

That includes the mere threat of punishment, whether or not that punishment is carried out.

Recent case: Charity, who is black and from Nigeria, supervised 45 em­­ployees across four locations. When subordinates complained to HR about some hiring decisions, Charity called in employees one by one and asked who complained. She suggested the complainers would suffer unspecified consequences, but never carried out the threats.

Charity was fired and sued, alleging she had been the victim of bias.

But the court said Charity’s threats to retaliate trumped any discrimination claims she might have. (Oguns­­anya v. Abbott, No. E054920, Court of Appeal of California, 4th Appel­­late District, 2013)

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