Federal employee retaliated against by federal agency. Complainant filed an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint alleging discrimination based on disability and reprisal. Complainant requested a hearing in front of the Administrative Judge (AJ), which the Agency opposed. In its final decision the Agency found that it had not discriminated against the Complainant, and Complainant appealed.

The EEOC’s Office of Federal Operations (OFO) found that the Agency subjected the Complainant to a materially adverse action when it sent him certain correspondence. Specifically, correspondence requesting the name of his treating physician, asking him to sign a medical release, and proposing to conduct a fitness for duty inquiry. The OFO held that such correspondence is reasonably likely to deter employees from engaging in protected activities which has a potentially chilling effect on the EEO process. Further, the OFO held that there was a direct causal connection between these actions and the Complainant’s EEO complaint as the Agency expressly relied on statements the Complainant made in his EEO pleadings.

Elbert H. v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120170676 (Oct. 31, 2018) https://www.eeoc.gov/sites/default/files/migrated_files/decisions/0120170676.pdf

Kirk J. Angel represents federal employees in EEO cases and in hearings before the MSPB and EEOC. You can set a free 15 minute consultation with him right on this website.