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Tell supervisors: No retaliation against employees who settled discrimination claims

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Have you recently settled a discrimination case? If the settlement included the employee keeping his or her job, remind all supervisors that they cannot retaliate in any way—or allow co-workers to get back at the employee.

Recent case: Rosemary Covalt complained that a female supervisor was sexually harassing her. Eventually she settled the case. She then claimed supervisors began singling her out for reprimands and disciplining her for minor offenses. Covalt said managers didn’t treat other employees the way they treated her. She sued for retaliation.

Because the retaliation standard is low—only requiring the employee to prove that the employer’s actions would dissuade a reasonable employee from bringing a complaint in the first place—the court said Covalt’s suit should go to trial. It said a jury might conclude that the managers’ behavior could have led an employee to stay silent about harassment. (Covalt v. Pintar, et al., No. H-07-1595, SD TX, 2008)

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