Employment Law

Determining Whether There Was Retaliation

Retaliation is unlawful

Your Evansville Employment attorney will assure you that Title VII and all state anti-discrimination statutes disallow retaliation against any person who advocates against an unlawful employment practice or becomes involved in any governmental investigation or action protected under Title VII or related state statute.

Adverse employment action

In a retaliation case, your Evansville Employment attorney will determine whether you (the employee) have suffered an adverse employment action (i.e. whether or not you have been punished by your employer).

A 2006 Supreme Court case (Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White) settled a split in the Circuit Courts of Appeal on whether employer conduct not quite amounting to an “ultimate employment decision” (failure to hire, demotion, firing) could be considered an adverse employment action. The Supreme Court responded by ruling that the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII was not limited to “ultimate employment decisions” but covered any employer decisions that can be considered “materially adverse” to a reasonable employee or applicant.

While lamenting the fact that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision would not protect an employee from “normally petty slights, minor annoyances, and simple lack of good manners,” the Supreme Court recognized that retaliation claims will usually require intense scrutiny based on facts. The court said:

We phrase the standard in general terms because the significance of any given act of retaliation will often depend upon the particular circumstances. Context matters. . . . A schedule change in an employee’s work schedule may make little difference to many workers, but may matter enormously to a young mother with school age children. . . . A supervisor’s refusal to invite an employee to lunch is normally trivial, a non-actionable petty slight. But to retaliate by excluding an employee from a weekly training lunch that contributes significantly to the employee’s professional advancement might well deter a reasonable employee from complaining about discrimination.

To protect yourself from any unlawful retaliation due to your employment lawsuit, you should hire a veteran Evansville Employment attorney as soon as possible. Please call the Siesky & Viehe Law Firm, PC at (812) 402-7700 for a free initial consultation.

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