ERJ staff report (BI)
A complaint made to a human resources vice president about a colleague's racist remarks is protected activity under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, says a federal appellate court in partially overruling a lower court's decision in a retaliation case.
According to Monday's ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati in Scott Trujillo v. Henniges Automotive Sealing Systems North America Inc., Mr. Trujillo, who was a director of global finance for New Haven, Mo.-based Henniges, had complained in September 2008 to the firm's vice president of human resources about â€œinappropriate or derogatory things about other racesâ€ made by the firm's operations vice president. He was fired a week later.
Before making the complaint to HR, Mr. Trujillo also had complained directly to the operations vice president about the comments he made, although in a â€œlighthearted way,â€ according to the ruling.
Mr. Trujillo filed suit, charging he was terminated in retaliation for lodging complaints regarding the racially oriented comments. A district court granted Henniges' motion for summary judgment dismissing the case.
From Business Insurance (A Crain publication)