Which of the following are considered to be examples of illegal management retaliation against an employee who has engaged in protected activity under the civil rights laws:

  • work-related threats, warnings, or reprimands;
  • negative or lowered evaluations;
  • transfers to less prestigious or desirable work or work locations;
  • making false reports to government authorities or in the media;
  • filing a civil action;
  • threatening reassignment; scrutinizing work or attendance more closely than that of other employees, without justification;
  • removing supervisory responsibilities;
  • engaging in abusive verbal or physical behavior that is reasonably likely to deter protected activity, even if it is not yet “severe or pervasive” as required for a hostile work environment;
  • requiring re-verification of work status, making threats of deportation, or initiating other action with immigration authorities because of protected activity;
  • terminating a union grievance process or other action to block access to otherwise available remedial mechanisms; or
  • taking (or threatening to take) a materially adverse action against a close family member (who would then also have a retaliation claim, even if not an employee).

The answer is that…

EEOC considers every one of them acts of illegal retaliation unless the agency can prove otherwise. EEOC just issued updated guidance on what it considers to be illegal retaliation and what can be done about it.  We recommend that all union reps read it over at least once to boost their ability to spot illegal activity in the first place.  Sometimes it can be subtle.  Union officers might want to consider e-mailing the EEOC link to all members to help them also know when it is time to stand up for themselves.  If you want to give members more concrete examples of how employees successfully fought retaliation include a link to some of our favorite Fedsmill.com stories on the issue.

ER/LR specialists can earn a mythical gold star from Fedsmill.com if they also take steps now to remind employees of their rights to challenge retaliation.

About AdminUN

FEDSMILL staff has over 40 years of federal sector labor relations experience on the union as well as management side of the table and even some time as a neutral.
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1 Response to

  1. A Fed says:

    You forget to mention that the employee needs to prove a linkage between the action and the protected activity.

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