Unaddressed complaints can lead to gender discrimination lawsuits.

by on December 12, 2008 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Here’s an example of what can happen if a worker’s complaint goes unaddressed, especially when it involves gender discrimination.

A male IRS worker’s female supervisor began making suggestive comments and sexual advances toward him. Then, when he got a slightly lower score on his next performance review, he blew his stack. He assumed the lower score was retaliation.

The final punch came when the employee attempted to report the problem to his superiors, who failed to address it. The employee had completed the necessary request for an investigation and had met with the EEOC discrimination officials. But because the IRS didn’t quickly resolve his problem, the whole mess ended up in a sex discrimination lawsuit.

Did the organization redeem itself?

Yes. An appeals court held that because the employee couldn’t prove that he was qualified for the promotions he applied for, or that his lowered performance review score was the reason he didn’t qualify for them.

What you can do
Here are some good suggestions if you are ever in a similar situation:

    Keep the lines of communication open by taking every gender discrimination complaint seriously.
    Speak with the supervisor to see if the job evaluation score is a result of other issues besides sexual harassment.
    Sit down with the disgruntled employee to make sure he/she understands the promotion process.

Cite: Brown v. Snow, No. 04-15095, 11th Cir., 2/24/06.

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