HR Tip of the Month: If Retaliation Claims Still Are Not On Your Radar, You Need To Adjust Your AntennaSeptember 2016
As discussed below, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently issued new enforcement guidance on how broadly (very) it interprets the anti-retaliation protections contained in the various employment discrimination statutes the agency enforces. These statutes contain provisions that make it unlawful for an employer to take an adverse employment action against any employee or applicant who engages in a protected activity. A protected activity can be either participating in an EEO process (including internal investigations according to the EEOC) or opposing a perceived unlawful EEO practice. The new guidance will sound familiar to employers who work their employment counsel regularly on discipline and internal investigation issues. But the most obvious take away from this new guidance for employers is: it is not reasonable any longer to conduct an internal investigation or discipline employees without “checking-in” with your employment counsel first. That 15 minute check in can often times avoid a claim or, if a claim arises, ensure that the company has a defense.