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Texas Supreme Court: Opposing merely inappropriate acts not protected

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

by Angela N. Marshall, Esq., Ogletree Deakins, Austin

The Supreme Court of Texas has decided a case brought under Texas law that will help employers defend themselves against retaliation claims.

In San Antonio Water System v. Nicholas (No. 13-0966, Supreme Court of Texas, 2015) the court held that the law does not protect a plaintiff from retaliation for opposing a colleague’s unwelcome lunch invitations made to other employees because, the court found, extending a limited number of lunch invitations could not reasonably be considered unlawful harassment.

Awkward invitations

The plaintiff in the case was a chief of staff at the San Antonio Water System. During her tenure there, she became aware of complaints by two employees that a newly hired vice president had made them feel uncomfortable by repeatedly inviting them to lunch.

One of the two employees claimed that she was uncomfortable with the invitations, that she felt ha...(register to read more)

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