Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, an employer engages in unlawful retaliation when, in response to an employee complaint of discrimination, it acts in a way that may dissuade a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.
So, let's assume that an individual files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC against her former employer. Thereafter, the employee files for unemployment compensation benefits, and the employer fights the claim for unemployment compensation, claiming that the employee was terminated for gross negligence. Could that be viewed as Title VII retaliation?
According to the this recent PA federal court decision, the answer is fact:
Ms. Stezzi can satisfy the "`adverse employment action' element of [her] prima facie case of retaliation" with her claims regarding Citizens Bank's post-employment conduct if she can show that Citizens Bank's actions negatively affected her future employment opportunities...I find that her complaint sufficiently alleges that Citizens Bank adversely affected her future employment opportunities by ordering Talx to appeal her unemployment compensation benefits....If other employers saw that Talx described Ms. Stezzi as grossly negligent in its appeal, it is reasonable to infer that such employers might refuse to hire Ms. Stezzi.