Short Time Span Between Deposition and Disciplinary Action Support Claim of Retaliation

Under Federal law, retaliating against an employee for complaining of discrimination – or being a witness in another’s claim of employment discrimination – is prohibited. A recent case examined just how long between the time an employee complains about an action being discriminatory and when negative consequences occur supports a claim of retaliation.

In Benuzzi v. Board of Educ. of Chicago, a school custodian testified in a deposition concerning her claims of gender discrimination. According to court documents, the following day the principal of the school where she worked issued a “sweeping Notice of Disciplinary Action citing petty misdeeds that allegedly occurred months ago,” along with a memorandum restricting her access to the school.

Title VII and other discrimination laws prohibit retaliation in the workplace. Retaliation doesn’t only include being fired for making a complaint. It also includes almost any negative action by your employer against you, and in some cases, a family member or friend. Many times retaliation cases are easier to win than discrimination cases – you must simply show that you reasonably believed you were discriminated against and that you were then subjected to an adverse action.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that although a two month time span might not support a retaliation claim, the incredibly short period of time – just one day – between the deposition and the disciplinary action could give rise to the inference that the two events were linked, and as a result support a claim of retaliation.

Federal law protects you from adverse employment actions for complaining about workplace discrimination. If you truly believe you or someone at work has been discriminated against, you can fight back. For more information, contact the experienced Atlanta employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for a confidential case evaluation.