What Employers Should Know About Retaliation

Based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  explains that it is illegal for employers to fire, demote, or otherwise “retaliate” against employees or applicants because they filed a discrimination charge, complained to their employer about job discrimination or participated in an employment discrimination proceeding, such as a lawsuit or investigation. Discrimination law prohibits retaliation in the form of denying hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits and any other term or condition of employment.

A few years ago during the conciliation process, KONE Inc. reached a settlement with the EEOC using mediation. The settlement was for an employee who had filed a complaint of discrimination with the EEOC against the company. A stipulation in the mediation agreement was that KONE would recode the employee’s personnel file, making her eligible for future rehiring. However, KONE failed to do so and listed the employee as ineligible for rehire in the personnel system, which resulted in failure to rehire her on several occasions.

The EEOC sued on behalf of the employee and the court found that KONE had breached the mediation agreement, was in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and required KONE to pay $85,000 in monetary relief.

The court also required KONE to provide workplace training on discrimination and retaliation, keep records of discrimination complaints and provide the EEOC with annual reports.

Understanding discrimination law and what courts consider retaliation is vital for a business owner. Companies must ensure that anti-discrimination policies are in place and that management is following them.

Stephen Hans & Associates has decades of employment litigation experience and works with business owners to help them comply with laws and protect their rights. To avoid costly legal expenses, seek legal help at the first sign of discrimination issues. If you already face a complaint, our firm can help.

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