The jury awards 11.1 million USD to the IBM manager, who reported discrimination and was fired by the company.

A federal jury found that IBM illegally fired a sales manager who raised a race discrimination complaint accounted for the significant difference between a Black salesman’s commission and a White salesman’s commission after both closed similar deals.

The plaintiff was awarded nearly 11.1 million USD on his claim of retaliation, wrongful discharge, and unpaid commissions under Washington state law.
According to his complaint, the plaintiff noticed the disparity between the workers’ commissions, telling an IBM manager that it looked like discrimination. After this, he was fired.

As per experts, employers take all complaints seriously and follow up reports of misconduct with good-faith investigations. Employers even embrace complaints and shift their mindset from defensiveness over objections to crucial feedback. Such a change may promote a culture of improvement.

Ken Broda-Bahm, the senior litigation consultant at Persuasion Strategies, said that whistle-blower should not be treated as a saint or sinner. Instead, employers should see complaint raisers as regular employees doing their work.

Employers should encourage managers to field complaints without revenge, as such a reaction can open the door to legal liability. In addition, it’s illegal to retaliate against employees for engaging in protected activity, and protected activity can include communicating with a supervisor or manager about potential employment discrimination, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

An employer cannot fire, demote, harass, or otherwise take adverse action against an employee or applicant for employment to file a charge of discrimination, participate in a discrimination proceeding, or otherwise oppose discrimination. According to the EEOC, as long as the complaining employee acted on a reasonable belief that discrimination occurred, their complaints are protected.

A complaint of bias or harassment doesn’t insulate an employee from legitimate discipline. But suppose a worker has engaged in protected activity such as complaining about workplace racism or sexual harassment. In that case, an employer should document the facts that justify the discipline and communicate with the employee, as per legal experts.

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