HR fired for pursuing bias: Is that retaliation?

HR professionals may worry that pushing too hard to investigate workplace discrimination or harassment complaints--especially claims against high-ranking execs--could cost them their jobs. After all, conducting HR business isn't technically considered "protected" activity under Title VII or other federal employment laws.

However, a recent federal appeals court decision is good news for HR professionals. It confirms that firing an HR pro for pursuing an employee's discrimination claim does count as unlawful retaliation under Title VII.

The message: You don't need to wear kid gloves when investigating employees' complaints. As this case shows, if you're fired or punished in any way for trying to correct harassment or discrimination, you have a standing to sue for retaliation.

Recent case: Makini was hired to be the HR director for a county road commission in Michigan. Several discrimination complaints against the commission were pending. After conducting interviews, Makini concluded that one of the claims had merit, and she...

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