Title VII does not protect a manager who complains about her company’s sex harassment investigation.
In Brush v. Sears Holding Corp, Ms. Brush was involved in investigating employee complaints. Upon receiving a complaint of sex harassment, Ms. Brush and another employee were directed to interview the complaining party. Ms. Brush followed up with a one-on-one interview with the woman wherein the woman alleged she had been raped by the alleged harasser. Ms. Brush notified management and insisted that the police should be notified. Sears terminated the harasser but did not call the police. Ms. Brush continued to insist that the police be notified but Sears refused because the investigation was still underway and the accuser did not wish the police to be involved.
Sears terminated Ms. Brush for failures in her investigation. Ms. Brush alleged that she was terminated for her opposition to the way the investigation was being handled. The 11th Circuit court upheld summary judgment in this unpublished decision, finding that criticism of an employer’s internal investigation is not protected activity under Title VII. A manager’s disagreement in the course of performing her duties does not constitute protected activity.