In a discrimination case an employer can avoid liability for harassment by showing that it took proper and reasonable remedial action in response to an employee’s complaint about sexual harassment. However, this defense failed for the employer in River Oaks L-M. Inc. v. Vinton-Duarte, 469 S.W.3d 213 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2015). Despite the employee’s repeated contacts with the human resources department about her sexual harassment complaint, the company delayed investigating or taking any remedial action. Instead, it began a thorough investigation of the complaining employee and identified a number of questionable transactions she had handled. In this case the employer also tried to show the employee would have been fired without regard to the fact that she complained about sexual harassment and attempted to use this as a defense. However the Court stated that the employer’s evidence also failed to show that it would have discharged the employee irrespective of her complaints, because the employer had not discharged others who had engaged in similar offenses.
As an El Paso Texas employment lawyer I often see that when employees complain about discrimination instead of investigating the complaint of harassment they often times will actually focus on the complaining employee in an attempt to justify a reason to terminate or discipline this employee. This is a blatant violation of the employment laws and will lead to claim of retaliation as well as a claim for discrimination. This shows why it is so important to seek out a board certified employment lawyer as soon as you feel you are being harassed or discriminated against. A competent employment lawyer can advise you on how to make a complaint and how to document that complaint which can hopefully make your employer less likely to retaliate.