Retaliation doesn't always happen to the person filing the complaint. And in order for an employee to win a retaliation lawsuit, that employee doesn't need to be the one who filed the discrimination charges, according to a recent Texas decision.
The Houston Police Department must pay $378,000 to a young policeman after they allegedly retaliated against him for a complaint filed by his father and thirty other Hispanic men, reports The Houston Chronicle.
After the group filed a discrimination lawsuit, Christopher Zamora alleged he was transferred to the night shift, after working in the Crime Reduction Unit, a more elite group.
That fact and change in status from one group to the next was solid evidence for Zamora, as an adverse job reaction is an element of a discrimination case or a retaliation case.
While Zamora wasn't the employee who had filed the initial discrimination complaint, retaliation claims can extend beyond the filers of the complaint. Basically, retaliation claims can extend to others, including those who were interviewed as part of an investigation.
The interesting thing about a retaliation claim is that the truth of the underlying discrimination claim does not matter. Thus, even if the underlying discrimination claim is patently false, any retaliation as a result of that complaint is dangerous for an employer.
The other interesting thing about retaliation is that it can arise accidentally, even when the employer is trying to solve the problem. Employers need to take caution with any action they take after a discrimination complaint has been filed, as it could be construed as a retaliatory action.
The Houston Police Department should certainly learn from this case. It's not the first discrimination case they've had, according to The Houston Chronicle.
But hopefully, it will be the last.