No good deed goes unpunished, so they say, and that’s certainly the case in Wednesday’s 2nd Circuit ruling, which says that a human resources worker investigating a sexual harassment claim was not protected from retaliation.

The HR worker was investigating a receptionist’s claim of sexual harassment against the company’s vice president, and alleges that she was fired in retaliation. Since she was fired before she filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the 2nd Circuit ruled, in a case of first impression, that she was not protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Judge Raymond Lohier, author of the concurring opinion, found it unfortunate that internal investigators aren’t protected under Title VII. “The distinction between investigations in which the government is involved and internal investigations strikes me as antiquated and arbitrary,” he wrote.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.