Attorney Jay Shepherd gives us 500,000 reasons to worry about retaliation claims.
He explains that when something bad happens to an employee after filing a discrimination claim, it makes it look like the employer retaliated against the employee for filing the claim. Makes it look like payback. That is a bad thing. Very bad. That is a serious offense in the eyes of the law.
The situation he describes was an employee who claimed discrimination. Shortly thereafter the employer demoted the person from supervisor to just covering the front desk. Sounded so little like discrimination and so much like retaliation that the jury granted a measly $6,000 for the discrimination claim and $500,000 in punitive damages for retaliation.
Oh, by the way, punitive damages usually aren’t covered by insurance policies, based on what I’ve read in the papers. So if that happened in an accounting firm or ministry setting, the insurance company would probably cover the 6k but your already stretched budget would have to absorb the 500k.
Yet one more reason we should treat people fairly all the time. Read the full post, linked above.