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Federal agency subjected employee to sexual orientation harassment. Complainant, a federal employee, filed an EEO alleging discrimination on the basis of sex (male, sexual orientation) and disability as well as a hostile environment.  After investigation, the Complainant requested a final agency decision (FAD) rather than the EEOC hearing process. The FAD concluded that Complainant did not establish discrimination or harassment. Complainant filed an appeal with the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). On appeal, the EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) held that Complainant was subjected to a hostile work environment based on sex and sexual orientation, and that the Agency knew of the conduct at issue. Noting that the EEO process is not a substitute for the Agency’s internal process, the OFO further held that management officials did not take prompt and effective action once they became aware of the conduct and instead put the onus to discipline the harasser on the Complainant or for Complainant to file an EEO complaint. The OFO also found the Agency to not be in compliance with its anti-harassment policy and was ordered to seek technical assistance from the EEOC OFO’s Federal Sector Programs to correct the deficiencies.

Foster B. v. Dep’t of Health and Human Services, EEOC Appeal No. 2019005682 (Apr. 12, 2021) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/decisions/2021_06_08/2019005682.pdf

If you are a federal employee who needs representation for an EEOC investigation or an EEOC or MSPB hearing, Attorney Kirk J Angel may be able to help. You can set a free 15 minute consultation with him right on this website.