MCAD Digest: Gutierrez-Dupuis v. Gabriel Care, LLC…Employee Wins Retaliation Case Despite Colleague’s Failed Discrimination Claim

Overview: In Gutierrez-Dupuis v. Gabriel Care, LLC, the MCAD found in favor of Complainant Dupuis on her retaliation claim, but it found against Complainant Gutierrez on her claims of retaliation and discrimination based on national origin and race. There was no credible evidence to support claims that Gutierrez was told not to speak Spanish to clients or that her supervisor mocked Gutierrez’s accent. The record also made it clear that Gutierrez was terminated for taking steps to open a competing business and not for complaining about discrimination.

As for Complainant Dupuis, however, the hearing officer arrived at the “inescapable conclusion” that the primary reason she was terminated was because she said she would serve as a supporting witness if Gutierrez filed a discrimination claim. The hearing officer reasoned that Dupuis was “fired for standing up in support of her good faith, if misguided, belief that fellow employee Gutierrez was the victim of discrimination.” She was awarded back pay and emotional distress damages.

Decision Date: August 24, 2016

Docket Number: 10-NEM-02160; 10-NEM-02161

Hearing Officer: Betty E. Waxman

Claims: Employment discrimination based on national origin and race, retaliation

Prevailing Party: Complainant Dupuis

Back Pay: $ 17,500 (Dupuis)

Front Pay: $0

Emotional Distress: $20,000 (Dupuis)

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