Retalitation Claim

I was recently released from my position. The reason sited was inconsistant/poor performance. A week prior to being released I had made a complaint to Human Resources regarding my immediate Supervisor's treatment towards me. Prior to this incident I had made several other complaints regarding similar incidences. In July of 2006 I received a somewhat unfavorable review from the supervisor. The supervisor requested that I try harder. The following October I was promoted by the same supervisor adding additional responsibilities to my current position. Since October I have documented emails from the supervisor and verbal conversations I documented commending me on my performance. Since the poor review in July 2006, I have not received any formal written notice regarding my performance. Does my dismissal qualify for retaliation claims.

1 answer  |  asked Mar 9, 2007 11:21 AM [EST]  |  applies to Ohio

Answers (1)

Neil Klingshirn
Your claim depends on the nature of your complaint

A retaliation claim requires you to prove:

1. That you engaged in protected conduct;

2. That you suffered an adverse employment action; and

3. That the adverse employment action is causally related to the protected conduct.

In your case you suffered an adverse action. It is hard to tell whether you can prove that the adverse action was caused by your complaint, but let's assume that it was. This narrows the issue down to whether your complaint was protected conduct or not.

Complaints are not, by themselves, protected by law from retaliation. Instead, the complaint must be about something that is itself protected by law. The most common examples are complaints to management or the authorities about safety, health or environmental violations, or complaints about discrimination or harassment of yourself. For harassment complaints to be protected conduct, the harassment of which you complain must be based on sex, race, age or other protected classification.

In short, if you have a good faith belief that the conduct of your boss about which you complained is unlawful, you probably engaged in protected conduct and would therefore have a retaliation claim. If not, your discharge may not be unlawful.

posted by Neil Klingshirn  |  Mar 10, 2007 3:24 PM [EST]

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