Firing Employee Day After Complaining Of Sexual Harassment May Be Grounds For Retaliation

Often, workers fear complaining about work place harassment because they think they may be fired or face retaliatory conduct. The good news is that federal and state anti-discrimination laws have been written to protect employees from just that type of conduct. In fact – retaliation claims may be easier to prove than the underlying discrimination claims. Retaliation includes not only conduct such as hiring and firing, but also any negative workplace actions such as moving you to less desirable work shifts or location, or denying you deserved promotions.

If you have any questions concerning retaliation, or believe that you have been retaliated against for complaining about workplace harassment, it’s a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta employment retaliation attorney right away.

A recent 6th Circuit Court of Appeals case, Montell v. Diversified Clinical Services, looked at whether a female program director who was told to “resign or be fired” the day after she filed a sexual harassment claim could bring a claim for harassment.

In this instance, the court considered a few factors in determining that she could bring her claim. First, she was told to resign a day after she complained about the harassing behavior. The Sixth Circuit has previously found that temporal proximity alone can be sufficient evidence of causation, especially when adverse employment action occurs “very close in time” to protected activity. Further, where temporal proximity alone is not enough to establish causation, combining temporal proximity with other evidence of retaliatory conduct can show a causal connection. Here, not only did the alleged retaliatory action occur close in time to the protected activity, but several other actions existed support her claim. For example, her supervisor telling others that the woman had resigned from her job before she had, undermining the woman’s ability to stay employed should she wish to do so.

Taken as a whole, the court determined that these actions were sufficient to state a claim for retaliation.

Employment discrimination laws exist to protect employees. As a result, it is critical that workers who feel they have been treated unfairly can complain without fear of retribution.

For more information or if you believe you have been retaliated against at work, please contact the top Georgia anti-employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.