When the Accused Claims Retaliation

Katz, Marshall & Banks partner Alexis Ronickher was quoted in a Bloomberg Law article, “Whether Revenge or #MeToo, Firing Shows Tensions at Rights Icon.”

Raed Jarrar was an advocacy director at Amnesty International USA before being fired for what the organization called “inappropriate conduct toward a female coworker” following a sexual harassment probe in May 2018. The termination, however, occurred after Jarrar joined a union representing non-management employees and helped organize an effort to pay interns in early 2018. An executive director then threatened Jarrar – a finding confirmed by a NLRB judge. Jarrar claims that the allegations against him are based in Islamophobic and racist notions about Arab men and that his termination was motivated by his protected organizing activities.

The question of whether Jarrar’s firing was justified or retaliation is now in doubt due to the NLRB’s finding against Amnesty. This puts the organization in a very tough situation, explains Ms. Ronickher.

“It’s definitely a challenge for employers in a circumstance where they’ve had a court or administrative order against them, and then a credible complaint comes shortly afterward.”

A mistake by AIUSA was handling the investigation internally, rather than calling on an outside party to investigate the claims, and reduce suspicions of a predetermined outcome.

“The best practice in that situation is the organization needs to know they’re walking a tight-rope, and get a truly neutral investigator so when all’s said and done you’re not left with this morass of ‘Was there sexual harassment? Was there still retaliation? Is it because he’s an Arab and Muslim man?”

Read the full article here.