Federal agency deterred employees from using the EEO process. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination and harassment/hostile work environment on the bases of race, national origin, religion, and reprisal. Following the EEO investigation, the Complainant requested a hearing with an EEOC Administrative Judge (AJ). The AJ issued a decision by summary judgment (decision without a hearing) in favor of the Agency. Complainant appealed to the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO). The OFO found little merit to any of Complainant’s charges. However, the OFO did find that the supervisor’s response to the Complaint’s EEO complaint was reasonably likely to either deter Complainant or others from engaging in the EEO process. Therefore, although Complainant didn’t manage to show that any of the discipline he faced at work was unwarranted, the Agency was still liable for per se retaliation for deterring people from using the EEO process.

Will K. v. U.S. Postal Service, EEOC Appeal No. 2020000109 (Oct. 26, 2020) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/decisions/2020_12_07/2020000109.pdf

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