Complainant filed an appeal with the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in response to the Agency’s Final Decision concerning her EEO complaint alleging employment discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act. On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) looked at whether the appeal was timely and if there was a basis for imputing liability to the Agency. The OFO held that Complainant faxed the Notice of Appeal to the Commission on time, and while she should have also mailed a copy, the initial fax was within the allotted time frame, and therefore her appeal was timely. In regards to the sexual harassment claim, the OFO held that Complainant had adequately demonstrated based on a totality of the circumstances that she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on sexual harassment. The Agency tried to argue an affirmative defense stating that it was not liable because it exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct harassing behavior. The OFO, however, determined that because Complainant routinely told her supervisors of the harassment and their counsel was simply to “stay away” from the harassers, the Agency had failed to prove their affirmative defense and reversed the Agency’s final decision.
Celine B. v. Dep’t of the Navy, EEOC Appeal No. 2019001961 (Sept. 21, 2020) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/decisions/2020_12_07/2019001961.pdf