• Paul Peter Nicolai

EXTORTION AS RETALIATION

After getting a judgment against its former employee, the employer seized his minivan. Rather than sell it to satisfy the judgment, the employer demanded the employee’s ex-wife convince him to drop his disability discrimination claim at the MCAD. When this failed, the employer returned the minivan. The MCAD ruled this was illegal retaliation and held against the employer. On appeal, the Superior Court upheld this and on a further appeal the appeals court also upheld this as extortion.


Why This Is Important... The employer argued it was just exercising its legal rights because it was awarded a judgment it was enforcing. The MCAD and the courts said what actually happened here showed that the employer was really trying to extort a dismissal of the MCAD charge. Employers should understand that any form of retribution, even indirect forms one which have the color of legal legitimacy associated with them, can form the basis for a retaliation charge at most state and federal anti-discrimination agencies.