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Can you sue the Director of an organization for Title VII Retaliation after a RTS if they were the primary retaliator?

Santa Monica, CA |

The Director of the subsidiary organization is a direct employee of the parent organization and was the primary retaliator.

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Attorney answers 3


We (or any other firm that represents employees) would need additional facts to answer your question. Generally, while individuals cannot be held liable for retaliation, other claims for which individual liability may be imposed exist. Whether your situation potentially gives rise to such liability would require additional information to be answered.

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An EEOC right-to-sue letter only gives you the right to file a lawsuit; it does not create new legal bases (causes of action) for suit. There is no cause of action against an individual for retaliation under Title VII. You may have claims against the individual such as defamation or another reputation tort, or some other claim. As with all legal situations, the devil is in the details and employment law is complicated and fact-specific.

You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment lawyer. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best. *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***



Thank you for your response. I was referring to suing someone in their "official capacity", not as an individual.

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer


You cannot sue an individual for retaliation under Title VII, unfortunately.


My colleagues are correct that you cannot sue an individual for retaliation, even if that person is acting in an official capacity when doing so. You can only sue the entity. However, the law does recognize that acts that might be retaliatory in nature can also sometimes be harassment. Individuals can be sued for harassment. Thus, if the retaliatory conduct can be fairly characterized as harassment based on a protected status you might be able to make a claim. (Note, it is not as easy as it sounds.)

That said, you need to file an administrative complaint asserting harassment and naming the individual who you wish to sue, and get a RTS letter on that claim against that person.

Good luck to you.

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