Avoiding Retaliation Claims

  • Retaliation is now the most common charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), overtaking all other types of complaints filed with the commission, and accounting for 42.2 % of all EEOC cases in 2014.

    With all that in mind, here is a 10-step prevention plan for employers:

    • Have a clear and unambiguous written policy forbidding any kind of retaliation by anyone, including managers and other employees.
    • Conduct periodically refresher training for managers and supervisors regarding retaliation (and harassment and discrimination).
    • Train managers on what actions are protected from retaliation and what could be considered an “adverse employment action.”
    • Have an “open door” policy for employees to report problems.
    • Establish a protocol for investigating charges of retaliation.
    • Conduct investigations promptly.
    • Keep in mind that any other employees who assist in an investigation are also protected under anti-retaliation laws.
    • Take effective remedial action.
    • Communicate the results of the investigation to the employee at issue.
    • Make sure that nothing you do dissuades employees from coming forward with complaints that they believe may be legitimate.