Quirky Question #284: If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, can you still unlawfully retaliate against it?
Question: One of our male supervisors wants to fire a female employee who complained that he was sexually harassing her. The harassment allegations appear to have some substance: he asked her for pictures of herself in a bikini; told her to “stay off [her] knees,” which she viewed as sexual innuendo; and told her that her regulation length shorts were too short. Also, the grounds for termination (driving a vehicle with the door open, creating a safety hazard) have been overlooked in other situations. We are a little worried that she will claim we are retaliating against her for the sexual harassment complaint. But the supervisor says he never heard about the sexual harassment complaint. So, if he didn’t know about the complaint, he could not possibly retaliate against her on the basis of that complaint, right? You could get this case thrown out before it ever went to trial, right?