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  • Retaliation

    As reported in the May 2007 Security Management Magazine:
    A security guard refused a date for a senior manager and sued the company for sexual harrassment. The court ruled that a single event did not rise to the level of harrassment. However, the court ruled that the guard's removal from her job and reassignement after the incident could be evidence of retaliation. For that reason, the guard could pursue her retaliation claim against the company. (Stone-Clark v. Blackhawlk, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 04-0373, 2006).
    Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
    Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

    Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

  • #2
    I'm not sure she will prevail, and the threshold for a decision like this is fairly low. Basically, the plaintiff makes assertions and the employer's answer is deficient or inadequate in some way. I do not believe there is any finding of facts, so the court is not here making any finding that the reassignment was retalliatory. If I remember correctly, about 60% of plaintiffs manage to clear these initial hurdles but only about 5% of those will ultimately prevail. Of course, there is still significant cost and trouble to the employer either way.

    Reassignment of one or both parties is actually one of the options for dealing with potential harassment situations, or even for violations of a company fraternization policy, that the EEOC has found to be acceptable, providing that the reassignment is not unduly disadvantageous in some way to the parties (which can then be seen as "punitive" or "retalliatory").

    The rule of thumb with such reassignments has generally involved 5 elements:

    1. No diminishment of compensation...

    2. Same shift...or one selected by the party if a choice is offered...

    3. Same/similar duties and working conditions...or an assignment selected by the party if a choice is offered...

    4. Similar or less travel time/distance to the job site...

    5. Similar or better opportunities for advancement.

    As items #2 and 3 indicate, "cooperative" reassignments in which the employee is given choices and, in a perfect world, even benefited by the reassignment, is the way to go if possible.

    There may be, even in the absence of what might be found to constitute harassment, good reason (meaning, the company can demonstrate its legitimate interest) to prevent the appearance of such or the possibility of such by reassignment. However, there is never any reason for such reassignments to be punitive (other punitive measures exist if they are justified), and it is the obligation of the employer to see that they are not.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 04-17-2007, 02:16 PM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

    "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

    "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

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    • #3
      This is going to be interesting in case law:

      The employee percieved the actions of a supervisor to be that of harassment.

      The employer was notified upon first percieved "violation" by the employee,

      The employer took action to the reported violation by re-assignment of said employee,

      In the EO issues I have dealt with, and training of said "workplace violence" laws, which harassment, sexual or not, is percieved and defined, I believe it read something along the lines of:

      Any action or behavior that another may percieve to be harassing in nature, by the second attempt of said violator, are grounds for violations of Workplace Violence, and must be dealt with in a timely manner.

      We went over scenerios in which the role play scene described one person having an interest in another. The interested party asked the second party for a date or phone number. Once asked, the second party declined. This was defined as not being sexual harassment. If you ask again, then it becomes harassing in nature. Its also how you ask:

      "Hey, would you be interested in going out sometime?" Not harassing

      You ask again later on , This is harassing.

      "Hey baby cakes, wanna get close after work tonight?" Harassing

      Example only, LOL, and I know, its lame. But the point is how we ask, and how many times we ask. If we are genuine and polite in nature in asking only once, we can generally escape the harassment issue. But if we ask more then once after being rejected, or ask in a lack of mature manner, we have started overstepping our bounderies.

      Definately the re-assignmnet thing will be interesting.. Will the employee be content or view it as retalitory in nature? Hmmm...

      IMO: I am not fond of interpersonal relationships with employers, employees or work peers. At my site and corp, there are no such regulations concerning this, and I have had to deal with supervisors dating subordinates. Its sticky and not fun. I would never cross the line, as any one in the military or previousely, would know the fun that comes from that mess!

      Dont go poo in your own backyard.. You will have some damage one way or another later on!
      Deputy Sheriff

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      • #4
        I am fond of the old German saying, "Never get your meat from the same place you get your bread and butter."
        The consequences of this can be horrific.
        I am also a firm believer in "three strikes and your out," once, put the person on notice; second time, the warning and consequences carefully explained the second time and the third time, "show them the door!"
        Enjoy the day,
        Bill

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Security Consultant
          A security guard refused a date for a senior manager and sued the company for sexual harrassment. The court ruled that a single event did not rise to the level of harrassment. However, the court ruled that the guard's removal from her job and reassignement after the incident could be evidence of retaliation. For that reason, the guard could pursue her retaliation claim against the company. (Stone-Clark v. Blackhawlk, Inc., U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, No. 04-0373, 2006).
          This is consistent with prior U.S. Supreme Court rulings: See e.g. Pennsylvania State Police v Suders, 542 U.S. 129 (2004), which discusses an employers vicarious liability not to engage in retaliatory conduct against an employee whose actions are lawful. This case also cites other relevant case laws from the U.S. Supreme Court, as well.

          I am curious who the "senior manager" was employed with = the security company or the client, or a business renting office space from the client?

          As far as prevailing in the suit, she stands a good chance because current court rulings favor the Plaintiff far more than the employer and perp. But ultimtely it will boil down to what she can and cannot prove in a court of law.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bill Warnock
            I am fond of the old German saying, "Never get your meat from the same place you get your bread and butter."
            The consequences of this can be horrific.
            I am also a firm believer in "three strikes and your out," once, put the person on notice; second time, the warning and consequences carefully explained the second time and the third time, "show them the door!"
            Enjoy the day,
            Bill
            Bill,

            I've learned a sort of variation of this saying. I guess it was translated

            from German to Texan! "Never get your honey where you make your money."
            "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
            - Thomas Jefferson

            “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.”
            — Vince Lombardi

            "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

            IX. Strive to attain professional competence.

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