Key Actions to Prevent Retaliation Claims
Now, more than ever, employers should take steps to minimize the risks of employee claims that they have been fired in response to filing discrimination or harassment complaints. Recent decisions by the Supreme Court and the state of Maryland make it more difficult for employers to prevail in retaliation claims. (link to newsletter article).
Key steps employers should take are to:
Establish a Policy Prohibiting Retaliation
Employers should adopt a clear and unambiguous policy prohibiting retaliation against employees who raise good-faith complaints of perceived discrimination, harassment or other civil rights violations.
Develop and Follow a Retaliation Investigation Process
Employers must establish, and just as significantly, follow a program for investigating such complaints fully and promptly and taking appropriate remedial action as circumstances warrant following the conclusion of an investigation.
Document, Document, Document
Employers need to document performance issues carefully and accurately, as well as the reasons for termination.
Employers should carefully assess whether an employee who is about to incur an adverse employment action (i.e., termination, demotion etc.), but who has not engaged in otherwise protected activity, has an association with another employee that might precipitate a claim of “association” retaliation.
Marc Engel, an attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer in Bethesda, Maryland, advises clients on employment issues, litigates employment and business disputes, and counsels companies and organizations on litigation avoidance strategies. For more information on how to minimize retaliation claims, contact Marc at firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 657-0184.