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Workplace Retaliation: How to Avoid the No. 1 Charge Filed with the EEOC and Write Position Statements to Withstand Scrutiny

Workplace Retaliation: How to Avoid the No. 1 Charge Filed with the EEOC and Write Position Statements to Withstand Scrutiny- On-Demand

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Workplace Retaliation: How to Avoid the No. 1 Charge Filed with the EEOC and Write Position Statements to Withstand Scrutiny - On-Demand

Webinar now available On-Demand.

WEBINAR SNAPSHOT: Learn how to avoid retaliation claim filings with the EEOC and how to craft position statements that will withstand EEOC scrutiny.

A Massachusetts jury recently awarded a nurse for a Boston-based hospital a whopping (and unprecedented) $28.2 million in damages on her claim the employer fabricated a story about her neglecting patients to get back at her for supporting a coworker’s discrimination charge.

Also recently, Department of Defense spokesperson Dana White came under scrutiny for allegedly retaliating against a Pentagon staffer who complained about having to run White’s personal errands. And, while her alleged behavior likely constitutes an ethics violation and isn’t the type of retaliation creating legal liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the issue of retaliation in the workplace is one to pay very close attention to.

When a boss erupts in retribution over a subordinate’s complaints about his or her behavior or business practices generally, the employer is an extremely vulnerable position that could lead to costly legal liability. The fact is that more retaliation charges are filed with the EEOC than any other charge, and the EEOC is taking action. Last month alone, the EEOC filed lawsuits against eight employers alleging unlawful retaliation.

Because retaliation continues to represent the top claim filed with the EEOC, it’s clear that HR needs to ensure that any adverse employment action, such as a demotion, suspension, or firing, occurring after an employee engages in protected activity (including filing a harassment or discrimination claim or taking part in a workplace investigation), is legally justified and could not be construed by a reasonable fact finder as a pretext for retaliation.

It’s important to note, too, that an employee doesn’t need to prove the merits of an underlying discrimination or harassment claim to win a high-priced verdict or settlement on a valid retaliation claims.

So, what’s HR to do if an employee happens to be terrible at his job or is incapable of showing up on time? Must you turn a blind eye to legitimate performance issues now that he or she has engaged in protected conduct?

If you’re nervous about walking this dangerous tightrope, you’re not alone! Use this on-demand webinar, to learn how to take a legally sound, uniform approach to employment documentation and discipline that will minimize the threat of costly retaliation claims. Our presenter, a skilled employment attorney, will also cover best practices for drafting position statements in the event you’re served with a dreaded EEOC retaliation charge.

You’ll learn:

  • What constitutes retaliation under federal law, and how best to avoid legal battles connected with perceived or real adverse employee actions that supervisors and managers may have taken (possibly unbeknownst to HR)
  • When a valid retaliation claim may arise—even when what the employee does is against the rules—and how to avoid it 
  • Training and coaching essentials for line managers and supervisors, so you minimize the risk of retaliation claims and consistently reinforce your formal anti-retaliation policy
  • How to carefully and discreetly investigate complaints of discrimination or harassment
  • Why consistency is key—and examples showing how to highlight the consistent application of your workplace policies in defense of retaliation claims
  • Best practices for employee documentation—and how to make the paper trail work to your benefit (and how poorly drafted documentation could work to your detriment) 
  • How to handle a situation where discipline or other employment action is warranted for something wholly unrelated to the employee’s protected activity 
  • What to do if an employee files a retaliation claim against your company with the EEOC
  • What to put in your EEOC position statement so it stands up to agency scrutiny
  • And much more!

About Your Presenter

Miranda Watkins, Esq. Associate  Fisher Phillips LLP

Miranda Watkins, Esq.
Fisher Phillips LLP

Miranda Watkins is an associate in the Fisher Phillips San Diego office. Her practice includes counseling and defending employers in all areas of labor and employment law. Before joining Fisher Phillips, Ms. Watkins worked as an associate attorney for a national law firm, focusing on employment and general civil litigation matters. During law school, she served as a law clerk for an administrative law judge at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There, her work focused solely on federal employment discrimination matters.

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