Court: Shift change can be workplace retaliation

On behalf of Fox & Fox, S.C.

Regular readers of our Milwaukee Employment Law Blog know that we have man times written about employment law issues affecting our Wisconsin and Chicago area readers. We recently read of a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that a shift transfer can be a form of retaliation.

The case involved a Texas police officer who was transferred to the weekend night shift in the traffic division after he complained to administration and Human Resources about race-related harassment.

The police officer and his employment law attorney said in court papers that the officer was isolated, harassed and ridiculed because of his race. Investigators hired by Fort Worth to look into his claim agreed. The investigators also found that though the officer had reported harassment to upper management in the department, the harassment was allowed to continue.

According to a news report, he was transferred to the traffic division and his hours were changed from the 6.m. to 2 p.m. shift from Monday through Friday to the shift that began at 4 p.m. and ended at 2 a.m. from Friday through Monday. Because in the change in hours, he said he lost $50,000 in overtime income and had to quit a part-time job he had held for more than a decade.

The court decided that the officer’s claim that he was transferred because of his discrimination complaint was plausible and that he had shown that the shift changes were an adverse employment action.

If you have faced retaliation after complaining about harassment or discrimination, contact a Milwaukee law firm experienced in employment law litigation.

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