Thursday, August 24, 2017

The 16th nominee for the “worst employer of 2017” is … the rapid retaliator

The EEOC has sued an Atlanta cemetery company for firing an employee the day after the agency interviewed her as part of an on-going investigation.

From the EEOC:
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, Peggy Knox had worked for Lincoln Cemetery as an administrative assistant since October 1983. In July 2015, Knox was interviewed by the EEOC during its investigation into an EEOC charge filed against Lincoln Cemetery by another employee. On Sept. 17, 2015, Lincoln Cemetery’s owner and president attended a conference at the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office related to the same EEOC investigation. Within hours of attending the conference, Knox was fired because of her cooperation with the EEOC. … 
“This suit sends a message that employees should never be punished for speaking to government officials when they investigate discrimination claims,” said Bernice Williams-Kimbrough, director of the EEOC’s Atlanta District Office. 
Antonette Sewell, regional attorney for the Atlanta District Office, added, “Trying to take revenge against employees for speaking to government investigators and engaging in protected activity is a clear violation of the anti-retaliation provisions of Title VII and hinders an employee’s ability to work in a discrimination-free environment as well as the government’s ability to do its job.”
I’m sure this employer has an excellent reason for why it fired this employee, and it better be a damn good one. The optics of firing an employee the day after she talks to a federal agency are not good. Indeed, if you fire an employee under these circumstances, you might be the worst employer of 2017.

Thank you to the reader who emailed in this nomination. Please feel free to take his lead and submit nominees. The nomination process will remain open until October 31. Beginning November 1, you will have chance to vote in an elimination round, during which we will whittle the list down to the top three to five. Then, during the first two weeks of December, you will get to vote again, this time to crown The Worst Employer of 2017.