Law360 interviewed Bachman Law founder Eric Bachman about the key takeaways from the massive $460 million verdict in an employment discrimination and retaliation case in California.
“Having a jury come out with nearly half a billion dollars in punitive damages could lead companies to see that they can’t just have these hollow anti-discrimination policies in their handbooks; they have to walk the walk and have real teeth to these policies and hold offenders accountable,” he said. “Otherwise, there’s a chance you’re going to get hit with a huge verdict like this.”
Legal framework for employment retaliation claims
Retaliation claims are the single most common type of complaint received by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). But what exactly constitutes retaliation as opposed to simply unfair treatment? As the EEOC defines it, retaliation comprises a narrower set of circumstances than the everyday definition of retaliation.
Cases litigated in court under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act require three things to demonstrate a valid claim for retaliation:
- You engaged in protected activity;
- Your employer took a material adverse action against you; and
- Your employer took the material action against you because of your protected activity
The policy reasons for having strong anti-retaliation protections are clear. Title VII’s provisions seek to encourage and protect those who report discrimination in the workplace to a government agency without fear of being fired or otherwise punished at work. Similarly, where an employee has a good faith basis to believe that their employer’s action may be unlawful discrimination, the law allows them to take reasonable steps to oppose those actions without fear of punishment because of that opposition. For more information about retaliation cases click here.
Bachman Law provides one-on-one, resolute, and results-oriented representation for executives facing employment discrimination and whistleblower retaliation. Our goal is for each client to receive custom-tailored advice and individual attention from a highly experienced employment law litigator who has encountered a broad spectrum of employment discrimination and whistleblower retaliation scenarios. Clients will speak directly to a seasoned partner with over two decades of practicing employment law who will navigate the client every step of the way toward the best possible result.
What sets Bachman Law apart is our focus on three fundamental principles: judgment borne by experience, unwavering dedication, and results.
Our key practice areas in employment discrimination and whistleblower retaliation focus on:
- Sex harassment and gender discrimination cases
- Whistleblower retaliation cases involving corporate fraud, airline safety, and consumer products safety
- Age discrimination
- Race discrimination
Before founding Bachman Law, Bachman was a partner in two boutique employment law firms in Washington, DC, and also served in senior positions at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC). His wins include a $1.3 million jury verdict in an individual employment discrimination case (tried with co-counsel), a $100 million settlement in a Title VII employment discrimination class action while at the DOJ, and a record-setting Whistleblower Protection Act settlement at OSC.