In a case of illegal retaliation, one of the crucial elements is something the law calls a “causal connection,” which is the linkage between the illegal conduct and the harmful employment action that followed. One powerful way to establish a causal connection is something called “temporal proximity,” which means closeness in time. To establish the sort of close temporal proximity needed for a proper causal connection, you need clear evidence that closely ties your punishment to your protected activity. When it comes to collecting this evidence and presenting the necessary arguments to the court, having an experienced New York retaliation lawyer on your side is essential.
A sexual harassment and retaliation case from Brooklyn is a clear illustration. J.E., the plaintiff, was a man who began working as a middle school teaching assistant in 2017. Later that year, S.L., a teacher at the school, allegedly began making unwanted sexual advances toward the assistant. The teacher made those advances repeatedly through the end of the school year, according to the assistant. The harassment allegedly included text messages like “We are hot white girls. You can’t handle us,” as well in-person harassment like calling the man her “Black lover.”
On May 10, 2018, the assistant reported the teacher’s harassment to the school principal. The principal allegedly did not believe him but did inform him of his right to file a claim with the Office of Equal Opportunity. The next day, the school suspended the assistant without pay and did not inform him of the basis for the suspension.