Man cannot prove retaliation claim when he is fired after documenting girlfriend's harassment
Daniel Scott Thomas sued Livernois Vehicle Development after his emplyoment was terminated in November of 2008. Thomas enjoyed a romantic relationship with a co-worker who complained of being sexually harassed by another employee of Livernois. The company issued a written warning to the woman's co-worker, but the offense was allegedly repeated two months later. Thomas' girlfriend filed another complaint but ultimately did not press the matter because she did not want to see the co-worker disciplined further. She then left Livernois' employment.Soon afterward, Thomas came into possession of an offending e-mail from the male co-worker and forwarded it to the Defendant employer. Two months later, after the company received a sexual harassment complaint from his girlfriend's lawyer, Thomas' employment was terminated, allegedly for lack of work. He was immediately re-hired on the basis of a new contract, but terminated again one month later.
Thomas pointed to a comment made by a supervisor to the effect that he'd "get the short end of the stick" if his girlfriend pursued a claim for harassment and argued that the lack of business was a mere pretext for firing him. The Court acknowledged that Thomas providing evidence of harassment to support his girlfriend's allegations was "protected activity" under the Elliott-Larson Civil Rights Act, but held that he had failed to present adequate evidence of pretext and upheld the summary dismissal of his claim.