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Crawford Vs. Metropolitan – Supreme Court Rules on Retaliation - The Supreme Court finds that witnesses in internal investigations may be able to claim retaliation
Crawford Vs. Metropolitan – Supreme Court Rules on Retaliation

 

NewswireTODAY - /newswire/ - Atlanta, GA, United States, 2009/02/05 - The Supreme Court finds that witnesses in internal investigations may be able to claim retaliation.

   
 
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The United States Supreme Court issued a decision holding that an employee who is interviewed during an internal investigation of another employee’s complaint of sexual harassment may be able to sue for retaliation. In the case of Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville and Davidson Cty, TN, No. 06-1595 2009 U.S. LEXIS 870 (2009), the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, Tennessee, began investigating rumors of sexual harassment by the Metro School District’s employee relations director, Gene Hughes. In connection with the investigation, a human resources officer asked employee Vicky Crawford whether she had witnessed any inappropriate behavior by Hughes. In response, Crawford described several instances of harassing behavior by Hughes. Although the employer took no action against Hughes, it fired Crawford after investigating a claim that she engaged in embezzlement. Crawford sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming that Metropolitan Government fired her in retaliation for reporting Hughes’ behavior during their sexual harassment investigation. Prior to the investigation, Crawford had not complained about Hughes’ behavior.

The question before the Court was whether Crawford had opposed an unlawful employment practice (sexual harassment) sufficient to support a claim of retaliation when she had not instigated or initiated any complaint, but instead had only answered questions by investigators in an already pending internal investigation. The Court held that the retaliation protection offered by the opposition clause of Title VII does extend to “an employee who speaks out about discrimination not on her own initiative, but in answering questions during an employer’s internal investigation.”

ELI®’s flagship workplace training programs, Civil Treatment® for Managers and Civil Treatment® for Employees, teach participants about relevant workplace issues, including retaliation and protected protest. Contact ELI for more information about our catalogue of programs.

About ELI®

Founded in 1986, ELI (eliinc.com) specializes in providing interactive classroom and online learning solutions and related services to help organizations build a legal, ethical workplace culture that fosters teamwork and minimizes risk. ELI’s award-winning curriculum focuses on changing behaviors and building skills to produce measurable outcomes. Headquartered in Atlanta, ELI has worked with clients across a range of business sectors to give managers and employees practical skills for maintaining fair employment and ethical business practices.

 
 
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Crawford Vs. Metropolitan – Supreme Court Rules on Retaliation

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