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Subscriber only, premium content. Saturday, October 1

Combating retaliation claims: How to reduce their potential and limit their impact


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Retaliation claims by employees have become a nagging problem for employers, with more than 37,000 retaliation charges filed in 2012. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken an aggressive approach to pursuing claims where they allege employers fired, demoted or retaliated in other ways against workers that lodge a discrimination charge or participate in discrimination proceedings. Ironically, the retaliation often endures after the underlying discrimination charges have been dismissed. But it's not just a legal issue for employers; it's a financial issue too. The EEOC obtained $177.4 million in retaliation claims-related payments from employers last year. But what can employers do to combat retaliation claims? The charges are difficult to defend as the alleged retaliation often is based on a misperception or an ill-timed decision by a supervisor. In addition, juries often are more sympathetic to workers and assume that supervisors knew about the underlying discrimination claims before they carry an alleged retaliatory action. And retaliation often is easier to document than discrimination as, for example, a supervisor's subtle hostility is less easy to prove than a job transfer or demotion. This white paper from Business Insurance details the problem, reviews the legal history — including Supreme Court rulings, appellate court cases and settlements — discusses successful defense strategies, and outlines ways to stop retaliation happening in the first place. View a sample.