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EEOC finds federal employee has viable harassment claim. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging ongoing harassment/a hostile work environment on the bases of race (Asian) and national origin (Chinese) by one of his subordinates including disparaging Chinese immigrants, mocking Complainant’s language and communication skills due to his perceived foreign accent, interfering with work performance by engaging in efforts to subordinate Complainant such as regularly skipping meetings, walking out on meetings just as Complainant was starting to talk, not doing assignments, finishing assignments late, and generally ignoring Complainant. Complainant also alleged that management officials were aware of the harassment but failed to adequately address it. In its final decision the Agency dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim and that the alleged conduct was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to state a viable claim of harassment. Complainant appealed.

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) held that the allegations of the complaint were enough to state a viable claim of discriminatory harassment. The OFO further held that although Complainant did not raise reprisal as a basis for discrimination in his complaint, the harassment alleged could on its face be found reasonably likely to deter Complainant or others from engaging in protected activity. As a result, the OFO reversed and remanded the Agency’s final decision and counseled Complainant to notify the EEO manager and investigator to add a reprisal claim to his complaint.

Norbert K. v. Dep’t of State, EEOC Appeal No. 2021001898 (Apr. 19, 2021)  https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/decisions/2021_04_30/2021001898.pdf

Federal employee attorney Kirk J. Angel handles EEOC hearings.