While some may read that title and think it is a reference to "double secret probation" from the movie "Animal House," the fact is a woman was wrongfully terminated twice, by two different companies, in retaliatory fashion. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit with the woman, which was settled recently for $62,500.
The woman was fired from Vitol, an oil company in Houston, in July 2008. A few months later after she had begun work at Johnson Controls, the woman filed a sex discrimination claim against Vitol.
Even though the case wasn't going to be investigated further by the EEOC, Vitol found it necessary to pass the word along to Johnson Controls that one of their employees had filed the charge. On the same day that Vitol gave Johnson Controls the information on the sex discrimination charge, the woman was fired from her new position.
Employees are protected from punishment by their employers for reporting illegal activity or discrimination. The act of whistleblowing does not entitle a company or organization to retaliate against the employee who is simply trying to alert higher authorities of illegal conduct. You are protected by federal law, and any infringement on your right as an employee to report unethical acts is illegal itself; victims of retaliation deserve justice.
In this case, the woman settled out of court for compensation (which will help her land on her feet after the wrongful treatment she received from Vitol and Johnson) and Johnson Controls will give her a new neutral job reference.
Source: EEOC, "Vitol and Johnson Controls to Pay $62,500 to Settle EEOC Lawsuit for Retaliation," Sept. 4, 2012
- To learn more about the topics discussed in this post, please visit our Houston retaliation page.