Companies facing discrimination claims must contend with unique challenges. Continuing to manage an employee who filed a claim is one of the most difficult paths to navigate, especially when it comes to mitigating the risk of further legal action such as retaliation claims.
In the context of employment law, retaliation is defined as an employer taking punitive action against an employee for pursuing a claim against the company. Retaliation is prohibited by both state and federal law, and employers engaging in the practice face significant legal consequences.
Retaliation Is a Serious Matter
California has compiled a list of statutes that forbid retaliation in its many forms. At the state level, employers may face a civil penalty of $10,000 per instance of retaliation. These violations can quickly add up, as each denied promotion, punitive assignment, and castigating review may be held up in court as examples of retaliation. Employees can potentially file additional claims against the company at the federal level.
By the time someone in your organization files a retaliation suit, the relationship between employee and employer has already deteriorated to a point beyond repair. It may be an extremely difficult position for you and the individual, but you still have a legal obligation to treat your employee fairly.
Can You Fire an Employee without Risking a Retaliation Claim?
One of the toughest issues for employers is how to dismiss an employee who filed a claim against the company. It is possible, but the reasons for firing that individual should not be related to the employees’ claims in any way. Faced with such a situation, it would be prudent for employers to have clear documentation to support cause, such as clear proof of poor job performance over time or repeated non-compliance with company policies.
It is a delicate matter to remove an employee with a complicated history with the company but with the right legal assistance, employers can take the necessary actions.