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Employee's Conduct At EEOC Mediation Leads to Permissible Firing

A recent 7th Circuit Court of Appeals retaliation case demonstrates that employees must adhere to certain levels of decorum. After receiving a settlement proposal he thought was insultingly low during an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") mediation, Michael A. Benes reportedly stormed into a room occupied by his employer's representatives "and said loudly: 'You can take your proposal and shove it up your ass and fire me and I'll see you in court.'" Benes v. A.B. Data, Ltd., 119 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 509, 2013 WL 3838112 (7th Cir.2013). When the employer did, in fact, fire Mr. Benes, he sought protection from the firing through the anti-retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, the Court found that his outburst during mediation was not protected. The Court of Appeals upheld the District Court's granting of summary judgment to the employer and indicated "[s]ince ยง2000e-3(a) does not create a privilege to misbehave in court, it does not create a privilege to misbehave in mediation."

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