EEOC finds federal agency not a joint employer. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging a hostile work environment based on his race (Black), national origin (British), and reprisal for prior protected EEO activity when he was harassed by Agency and UNC employees and visitors and he was issued an order barring him from the facilities resulting in his termination. The Agency dismissed Complainant’s complaint for failure to state a claim, and Complainant appealed. During the appeal the Commission vacated the dismissal because the evidence was insufficient to make a determination of fact. The EEO ordered the Agency to gather more evidence and issue a new final order. The Agency did so, and issued another final order again dismissing Complainant’s complaint for the same reason. Complainant appealed.

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) had to determine whether the Agency was a joint employer of the Complainant. Ultimately the OFO held that the Agency was not joint employer of Complainant because it did not have sufficient control over Software Engineer in laboratories operated by staffing firm on Agency premises. Additionally, the OFO held that the Agency deciding whether to pay for projects that Complainant proposed was not equivalent to assigning and managing his work. Therefore the Agency’s final order was affirmed.

Robin H. v. Environmental Protection Agency, EEOC Appeal No. 2021001514 (June 28, 2021)

This summary was created by federal employee attorney Kirk J. Angel