Employee sends spouse to voice harassment complaint: Is that ‘protected’ activity? — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily
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Employee sends spouse to voice harassment complaint: Is that ‘protected’ activity?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employees who complain to HR or management about alleged discrimination or harassment are engaging in protected activity and can’t be punished for complaining.

But what if the employee can’t summon the courage to complain and, instead, sends someone else? Is sending a spokesperson to complain also protected activity?

A federal court says “yes,” at least when it’s the employee’s spouse who takes action.

Recent case: Helen, an administrative secretary for the City of Sanger, supervised an 18-year-old intern. When that intern ran into Helen’s boss—the mayor—at a local gym, he allegedly asked the intern about her racial background, inquiring whether she was a “mojada.” The word translates into “wetback” and is a derogatory term for an illegal immigrant.

The mayor also asked the young woman to demonstrate her cheerleading skills and gymnastic routine. He also inquired whether the intern knew if Helen “liked” him, which the intern...(register to read more)

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