An initial inference of retaliation arises where there is proof that the protected activity and the adverse action were related. Typically, the link is demonstrated by evidence that:
Separation to Prevent Retaliation:
It is important during an investigation that the complainant and the harasser have no or very limited interaction if required by the nature of their jobs. This may require putting the harasser on administrative leave, moving him to another building, changing his shift, etc. The employer must minimize the opportunities for further harassment and/or retaliation to occur. During the investigation, the work conditions of the complainant should generally not be changed unless she agrees to it. Hence, her duty station, hours of work, job assignments, and benefits should not change. Any change to her normal work routine might be considered retaliation. Unpaid leaves of absences for the complainant until the investigation is finished might be perceived as retaliation since she is losing income when she otherwise could be working.
Source: William R. Tamayo, Regional Attorney, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, San Francisco District
The method by which most plaintiffs attempt to establish the causal relationship relates to the timing of the adverse action. Close temporal proximity between the protected activity and the adverse employment action permits an inference of the causal nexus necessary for a finding of retaliation. The Ruffino court held that the adverse actions taken against the plaintiff, including unfair monitoring, criticism, an unfair performance review, and pay cut, occurred and escalated during and immediately following her decision to pursue her sexual harassment complaints, thereby satisfying the causation requirement.