According to Equal Employment Opportunity laws, retaliation is “when an employer unlawfully takes action against an individual in punishment for exercising rights protected by any of the EEO laws.” The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) does not handle all types of retaliation, but a significant percentage of the claims it handles are based on these allegations. EEOC data shows that 43 percent of the bias charges it handled for private sector employers were based on accusations of retaliation.
The EEOC is looking to make changes to the guidance it gives to employers and employees concerning retaliation and discrimination enforcement. It is currently asking for public input on the guidance it is proposing. Public commentary is welcome regarding things like what constitutes retaliation, what training should be provided to prevent or address retaliation and what are the best practices for addressing retaliation complaints.
The handling of retaliation claims is of vital importance in employment law. Workers’ rights are almost entirely dependent on the ability of employees to hold their employers accountable. If you can be legally fired for making a claim that you were sexually harassed, what are the chances that you will report the harassing behavior? Without anti-retaliation laws, many employee rights go out the window.
EEOC guidance regarding retaliation has not been revised for nearly two decades. Many claims of retaliation have been addressed in the EEOC and federal courts since then. The new guidance will take into account legal developments in the area of retaliation law.
Source: Insurance Journal, “EEOC Seeks Input on Workplace Retaliation Guidance,” 1 February 2016