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Retaliation in Texas

Can I fire an employee for being a trouble-maker, in Texas? She has made several discrimination complaints with the Human Resources department.

Retaliation in cases such as this may include actions on the part of the employer such as a demotion, a change in job duties, or a change in pay.  Or it may be in another form such as an effort to have other workers quit speaking to the complaining employee.  The actions of withholding wage increases or failing to offer a promotion that the employee would otherwise be entitled also fall into this category.  All of these types of actions are prohibited under the law and constitute grounds for enforcement against the employer.

A company in Illinois was recently saddled with $5 million in fines and restitution for violating the very statutes in which this type of employer behavior was questioned. 

The employer, Woodward Governor, had a suit for discrimination filed against them in 2003 and the EEOC filed an additional suit in 2006 for sex discrimination.  It was alleged that the company had discriminated against African American, Asian and Hispanic employees as well as women, in its factories in Illinois.  Many of the complainants continued to work for the company during the lengthy proceedings. 

If the company had retaliated against these employees the penalties would have been much more severe.Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or country of origin. That same law prohibits retaliation against employees who file complaints in good faith.

Think of it in these terms.  If a company were allowed to penalize employees who filed such discriminatory complaints, it would effectively stop workers from complaining of these conditions and the discrimination would likely continue.

In conclusion, the answer to the question is a resounding “no”.  An employee who files complaints with the employer or with the EEOC is absolutely protected under the law from any discriminatory acts that the company may impose on the accuser. JH

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2007 at 11:05 am and is filed under
Hiring and Staffing, Human Resources Management, Termination.
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