Federal Appeals Court Finds Lawful Discharge of an Employee Bringing Baseless Harassment Claim
According to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. Army's decision to fire a civilian employee because it found her repeated complaints of harassment baseless, does not violate the federal discrimination laws. Carrethers v. McCarthy, 2020 BL 198271 (5/28/20). The employer had assigned an investigator, who concluded that it was "extremely clear" that the plaintiff was fabricating her complaints. All of the 14 witnesses the plaintiff identified to the investigator contradicted her claims. Thus, the employer had reason to believe the harassment complaints were not made in good faith. Also, even if they were, the employer still had a legitimate basis for firing the employee. The judge cited published rulings by the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits in support of the conclusion.
Editor's Note: It is extremely controversial, even if legitimate, to fire an employee for making baseless harassment complaints. Such actions should only be taken with advice of counsel.