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the emplyee had filed the lawsuit.
The court concluded that the inconsistencies in the record raised a genuine
issue of material fact as to whether the
company’s reason for termination was
a pretext for retaliation. Accordingly,
the court denied Shenandoah Valley’s
request for summary judgment, permit-ting the claim to proceed to trial.
Take the following precautions to minimize your risk of creating a problematic
• Make sure all decision-makers are
on the same page about the reasons and
underlying justifications for a possible
employment decision before it is made.
• Be thorough from the start. If
there are multiple explanations for
an employee’s termination, clearly
articulate each one at the time of the
employment action, when responding
to the EEOC and in any subsequent
• Take time to investigate the allegations and draft the position statement
carefully. Interview all decision-makers and make them aware that
they may have to testify later under
oath about what they told you.
• Compare all factual representations made in the position statement to all documentation. Even
slight variations can have devastating
• Ask all decision-makers to review
the position statement before submit-
ting it to the EEOC. Again, remind
them that they may be called to testify
as to its factual accuracy. Better to dis-
cover any inconsistencies at this stage
rather than during litigation.
While this process can be lengthy,
it’s not nearly as time-consuming—
Ron Chapman Jr. is a shareholder with
Ogletree Deakins in Dallas and a member
of the frm’s board of directors. Vicki Tall is
senior attorney, labor and employment, with
Raytheon in Richardson, Texas.