An employee who was allegedly fired for complaining about discrimination against two foreign workers, who are not protected by federal discrimination laws, still has the right to pursue her retaliation charge, a federal appellate court said Wednesday when she reinstated her case.
Viktorya Reznik, who was project manager for Sandy, Utah-based inContact, Inc., which provides cloud-based services, had reported to its immediate superior and the human resources department that two employees working in the company's Manila, Philippines, office were subjected to a head of racist slander, including to call them "monkeys" and "not humans," according to the divided judgment of the 1
A few weeks later, Reznik resigned, because she was only told that she "was not a good cultural fit" and "not a good fit."
Ms. Reznik brought an action before the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah, alleging retaliation under Section VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The court dismissed the case and ruled that she had failed to make a claim because she had not shown an objectively reasonable believe that she opposed conduct which was unlawful under Title VII.
"The only question before us is whether Ms Reznik's conviction was objectively reasonable," said the majority opinion. It considered that to be the case even if the protection of Title VII did not extend to foreign nationals. Title VII, "it said.
" A reasonable employee probably knows that discrimination based on race and / or national origin is illegal, but is probably unfamiliar with the statutory exception of Title VII.
"Such an employee should
The dissenting opinion stated that the objective reasonableness of an employee's conviction must be measured "against existing substantive law."  Ms. Reznik's attorney, Ogden, Utah-based Philip C. Patterson, said in a statement: "I am happy for my client's sake. Otherwise, the decision speaks for itself. In addition to the legal standards applied by the Court, the specific facts of the case provide limited precedent value. "
The company's lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.