Avoiding Title VII Retaliation Claims

Avoiding Title VII Retaliation Claims or Filing a Discrimination Complaint

To avoid retaliation claims managers should carefully scrutinize the below list of conduct statements before disciplining an employee who has filed or settled a discrimination complaint. Managers should try to treat employees who have filed complaints as "business as usual". For those individuals who have filed a complaint, they may need "additional protections" or "special handling" to avoid retaliation claims.

When considering discipline, managers should make sure that:

  • There is factual support for the adverse employment action that will take place;
  • The discipline is consistent with the activity's rules;
  • Similarly situated employees who have engaged in similar conduct have been disciplined in the same manner;
  • Other managers and supervisors are advised about the adverse employment action on a "need to know basis" and personnel who have contact with the employee to be disciplined are instructed not to discuss the fact that someone has filed a claim; and
  • The conduct that is being disciplined was not previously condoned by the employer.

When an employee is making a claim of retaliation under Section 704(a) of Title VII, the employee must establish that he or she engaged in an activity that is protected by Title VII, that an adverse employment action occurred, and that a casual connection exists between participation in the protected activity and the adverse employment action.

For additional assistance, please contact your EEO or Employee Relations Specialist.