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Part 9: What Happens With the Retaliation Lawsuit?

fighting retaliation claimsOur question today is, how do you avoid a retaliation lawsuit? The original complaint doesn’t have to have merit. It could be wrong or ill-conceived. It is still going to be difficult to get a claim of retaliation dismissed. You are going to have to show a non-retaliatory business reason for the termination... 

Local Government and Legislative Prayer--Can They Pray or Not?

Two recent decisions on invocational prayer before local government Board meetings, filed in March of 2013, came out in opposite directions, but give some insight into the legal principles involved in determining whether Boards can properly sponsor a formal prayer before meetings. In Hudson v. Pittsylvania County, the federal district court for the Western District of Virginia issued an injunction against the prayers being offered. In Atheists of Florida v. City of Lakeland, the Eleventh Circuit found no constitutional violation. Different courts on different days, or consistent underlying principles?

Part 7: Open Communication and Impartiality in Investigations

This is quite helpful Theresa. I think the biggest issue here, is, wait for it, …communication! Part of me still struggles with wondering if it is possible to investigate a complaint by a party, gather information through an investigation through all parties, and end up by determining that the complaining party is more the problem than anyone else. 

Part 6: What Reports or Observations Trigger an Investigation

investigationsIn our hypothetical, Tom and Sally reached out and made allegations to the mission leader. It seems fairly obvious this should have triggered an investigation. But we probably want to spend more time thinking about how investigations get started. When should you investigate? A number of situations may call for an investigation. 

Part 5: It Really is About Confidentiality and Trust in the Investigation

trust and confidenceIn your hypothetical, there is already a lack of mutual trust. Tom and Sally are seen as being perpetual complainers. And your mission leader isn’t consistent. He “usually” investigates and doesn’t have a methodical approach. So what do complainants have the right to know about the progress of an investigation and what is the effect of trust issues with leadership? 

You Gave the Church Away?

You hate to see a case with a caption like God’s Hope Builders, Inc. v. Mount Zion Baptist Church, since it seems unlikely the lawsuit is what God would have hoped for. The Georgia Court of Appeals, on March 28, 2013, remanded this case with orders to the trial court to figure out, if it legitimately could, who the church members actually were.

Part 4: Complaints, Protection, Confidentiality and Trust

trusting leadersI can see where if you deal with complaints in a regular process, and document them, it makes for good protection. Two comments, though, one about confidentiality, and one about trust. In a perfect world, people see leadership as benevolent, compassionate, trustworthy (don’t laugh! I am going somewhere with this!). However, the reality is that we each project our own ... 

Part 3: Some Points About Your Policies - Protecting and Reporting

whistle blower policiesLet’s talk about policies—the types of policies you should have and how people can report without either personnel or the company running into problems with retaliation. Your conduct and discipline policies should also prohibit retaliation, and a separate whistle-blower policy is a good idea. An important piece in avoiding sticky situations is to have a complaint or grievance procedure. 

Part 2: How Whistle-blowing is Protected and Why You Want it Anyway

Hi Brent, Back in law school, sometimes the prof would weave the entire semester’s legal principles into one diabolical hypothetical, and the single exam question would be your entire grade for the course. The general answer is that Mission Leader in your hypothetical is in big trouble, and the mission is probably now facing a lawsuit. 

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