Articles Posted in Retaliation


Suppose that several employees complain that a coworker is creating a “hostile work environment” because they were afraid that she (the coworker) was going to report them (the employees) for engaging in unspecified misconduct in the workplace.

Can the employer respond by mandating an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) referral as a condition of the coworker’s continued employment?

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A tenured professor in a university’s history department learns of “discrimination” and “marginalization” of Hispanic employees within the department. The university appoints him to an “Equity Committee” to address the problem. As part of his remediation efforts, the professor creates a “salary report” confirming instances of pay disparity among minority professors. He then circulates the report to colleagues and supervisors.

Will the professor have a viable retaliation claim if the university later takes against the professor because of the salary report?

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An employee who claims retaliation in federal court must demonstrate they suffered treatment was “materially adverse,” i.e., something that could reasonably have dissuaded a reasonable worker from participating in a protected activity, like complaining about discrimination.

Last night, I read a decision from a federal judge in New York weighing allegations that the plaintiff’s supervisors knew the plaintiff had filed several EEO complaints and then retaliated against her.

But were the acts of retaliation “materially adverse”? Not really. No.

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