EEOC holds retaliation against an employee’s spouse is actionable. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of sex as a male nurse. The Agency dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim reasoning a lack of jurisdiction over the claims related to Complainant’s wife. Complainant appealed.

On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) held that in instances where there is an actionable third-party retaliation claim, both the employee who engaged in the protected activity and the third party who is subjected to the materially adverse action may state a claim. As a result the claims were remanded back to the Agency.

Colby S. v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, EEOC Appeal No. 2020002713 (June 16, 2020)

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