Many times retaliation claims may be brought and won even where it may not be possible to maintain the underlying case for harassment or employment discrimination. If you have been fired or subjected to an “adverse employment action” after complaining about behavior you believe is in violation of discrimination laws, you may have a claim for retaliation. Consulting with an experienced employment discrimination lawyer is important to determine your next steps.
In a recent Seventh Circuit case – Egan v. Freedom Bank – the court determined that a woman who complained about a male board member revealing his sexual fantasies about her could bring a claim for retaliation when she was later fired. Here Egan was the vice president of Freedom Bank and interacted with a member of the board of directors for business purposes. The board member told her that he “fantasized about making love to her on a dance floor and wanted to take her to Las Vegas and other places around the world.” Egan declined his advances and subsequently filed a claim for sexual harassment.
A few months later, Egan learned her position had been eliminated “based on financial and organizational efficiency.” Another employee reported that he overheard a conversation where the future bank president said he had heard Egan had been doing “something she should have been fired for.” He assumed the president was referring to filing the claim.
After her termination, Egan filed a lawsuit for sex discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
The court determined that while the facts may not support a claim for harassment, they were sufficient to support a claim of retaliation. Where the facts demonstrate a possible connection between a protected action – here it was making a harassment complaint – and an adverse action, then a claim for retaliation can proceed.
If you believe that you or someone you know at work has been discriminated against, you can fight back. Discrimination laws prohibit retaliation for complaining about discriminatory or harassing behavior. For more information or if you believe you have been subjected to employment discrimination, harassment or retaliation contact the experienced Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for a confidential case evaluation.