What constitutes an adverse employment action and what doesn’t? A recently decided case out of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sheds light on how a supervisor’s conduct may not rise to the level of constituting an adverse employment action. Such information may be useful for employers looking to proactively train managers on what they may be permitted to do and should never do after an employee or employees engage in protected conduct. Protected conduct includes activities such as filing an EEO charge like the federal employee, in that case, did or participating in an investigation into workplace misconduct.
For sure, HR’s failure to train supervisors and managers of the dangers that could follow if they retaliate against an employee for engaging in a protected activity could have disastrous consequences. For instance, last year, a Massachusetts jury awarded a nurse for a Boston-based hospital a whopping (and unprecedented) $28.2 million in damages on her claim the employer fabricated a story about her neglecting patients to get back at her for supporting a coworker’s discrimination charge.
Given that retaliation continues to be the #1 charge filed with the EEOC, it’s essential to ensure that any adverse employment action, such as a demotion, suspension, or firing, occurring after an employee engages in protected activity is legally justified. That means being able to succinctly state—in a position statement—why your articulated reason for any such action isn’t a pretext.
Join us on March 19 to learn how to take a legally sound, uniform approach to employment documentation and discipline that will minimize the threat of costly retaliation claims. Our presenter, a skilled employment attorney, will also cover best practices for drafting position statements in the event you’re served with a dreaded EEOC retaliation charge.
- What constitutes retaliation under federal law, and how best to avoid legal battles connected with perceived or real adverse employee actions that supervisors and managers may have taken (possibly unbeknownst to HR)
- What the Seventh Circuit says in Lewis v. Wilkie about what is and what isn’t generally an “adverse employment action” under federal anti-retaliation laws
- When a valid retaliation claim may arise—even when what the employee does is against the rules—and how to avoid it.
- Training and coaching essentials for line managers and supervisors, so you minimize the risk of retaliation claims and consistently reinforce your formal anti-retaliation policy
- How to carefully and discreetly investigate complaints of discrimination or harassment
- Why consistency is key—and examples showing how to highlight the consistent application of your workplace policies in defense of retaliation claims
- Best practices for employee documentation—and how to make the paper trail work to your benefit (and how poorly drafted documentation could work to your detriment)
- How to handle a situation where discipline or other employment action is warranted for something wholly unrelated to the employee’s protected activity
- What to do if an employee files a retaliation claim against your company with the EEOC
- What to put in your EEOC position statement so it stands up to agency scrutiny
- And much more!
YOUR EXPERT INSTRUCTOR
Darcey M. Groden, Esq.
Darcey Groden, an associate in Fisher Phillips LLP’s San Diego office, defends employers in a variety of employment matters, including discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability accommodation, civil rights violations, wrongful termination, wage and hour, worker misclassification, and breach of contract. Prior to joining Fisher & Phillips, Ms. Groden was an associate at a large general practice law firm in its labor & employment department
This program has been pre-approved for 1.5 hours of general recertification credit toward PHR and SPHR recertification. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the HR Certification Institute website at www.hrci.org.
Business & Legal Resources (BLR) is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. This program is valid for 1.5 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit the SHRM Certification website at www.shrm.org/certification.