Netter v. Barnes (P)

The plaintiff’s unauthorized review and disclosure of confidential personnel files to support her racial and religious discrimination claims was not protected activity under Title VII.

The court doesn’t read the “participation” clause of Title VII’s retaliation provision so narrowly as to improperly limit an employee’s ability to gather evidence for a bona fide Title VII claim. But here, the plaintiff’s unauthorized inspection and copying of the personnel files wasn’t protected participation activity because she violated a valid, generally-applicable state law that makes it a misdemeanor to knowingly and willfully examine, remove, or copy any portion of a confidential personnel file without authorized access.

Affirmed.

Netter v. Barnes (P), No. 18-1039, Nov. 15, 2018. 4th Cir. (Motz) from MDNC at Greensboro (Eagles).



Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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