Employment Law


Does Title VII’s retaliation clause protect an employee who participates not in a court proceeding or EEOC investigation but in an employer’s internal investigation of sexual harassment?

Yes, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville (2009) that Title VII’s protection against retaliation extends to a worker who speaks out against discrimination when questioned during an employer’s internal investigation. Some lower courts had ruled that the anti-retaliation clause of Title VII did not extend to cover employees during internal investigations.

The Court explained that there is “reason to doubt that a person can ‘oppose’ by responding to someone else’s question just as surely as by provoking the discussion, and nothing in the statute requires a freakish rule protecting an employee who reports discrimination on her own initiative but not one who reports the same discrimination in the same words when her boss asks a question.”


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