We sheepishly take notice that we have spent precious little blog space in the last number of months on the issue of retaliation, which is a big part of discrimination law and a major cause in the rise of discrimination charges. The EEOC, however, has taken notice and continues to file lawsuits alleging retaliation – two in the last week.
A quick primer on retaliation can be found in our short “Refresher Course” post on April 10, 2013. Or you can see what the EEOC just said about retaliation. “Taking adverse actions against an employee who complains of discrimination, files an EEOC charge or otherwise exercises her rights under Title VII violates the retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The prohibition against retaliation applies regardless of the outcome of the underlying charge.”
And: “Employers are simply not entitled to punish employees — or former employees — for complaining about discrimination. If they try to do so, they are only making a bad situation worse for themselves.”
And now the lawsuits.
First, the EEOC filed suit in Michigan against Guardsmark, a security company, for retaliating against a security guard who reported that another security guard used security cameras to “zoom in on women’s private parts:” He was allegedly fired when a sexual harassment complaint was filed. Retaliation consisted of being fired for opposing a sexually hostile work environment.
In a second new suit, a food market and gas in Indiana was sued by the EEOC for retaliation on behalf of a deli manager who, the EEOC alleged, filed charge with the EEOC and refused to drop it. This is the classic retaliation scenario.
The EEOC noted that “Eliminating policies and practices that discourage or prohibit individuals from exercising their rights under employment discrimination statutes, or that impede the EEOC’s investigative or enforcement efforts, is one of six national priorities identified by the EEOC’s Strategic Enforcement Plan (emphasis added).”
We promise to keep up with our retaliation obligations!