In a recent case in the Minneapolis school district, an employee was let go from her position. The employee complained to the school system’s equal opportunity division regarding what happened, and she alleged that workplace discrimination, harassment and a number of financial improprieties were going on within the school system that led to her firing.
The employee was reportedly told that school system’s division would investigate the matter and thus preserve her rights concerning this complaint. Because of this alleged promise, the employee then waited 300 days before filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Unfortunately, her case was tossed out by the court because she waited so long to file her complaint. The school district produced a letter that demonstrated that its internal investigation was complete, and that it found no grounds for the employee’s complaint.
The court’s ruling was likely dependent upon the sending of this letter. In any case, it’s always dangerous for a litigant to assume that there is still time to file a complaint. Instead, those complaining of workplace discrimination should consult with an experienced employment attorney to make sure that all filing requirements with the EEOC and with the courts are met.
The time of action taken against an employee is often important in deciding whether retaliation or discrimination has taken place. The lack of a written policy prohibiting retaliation may also be something that the courts will look at. Courts may also look at lack of training for supervisors concerning what constitutes wrongful termination, policies that are in place but applied inconsistently, or the failure to post procedures in a manner that is known to all employees and supervisors.
Since work is such an important part of our lives and, in the current economy, the loss of a job can have such a devastating impact, employees that feel they have been retaliated against may wish to contact an attorney experienced in wrongful termination cases.
Source: Business Management, “Communicate findings of bias investigation,” Jan. 8, 2013.