Everyone has the right to work in a place free from discrimination.
Unfortunately, discrimination in workplaces is still a widespread issue.
What’s more, tens of thousands of workers lose their jobs, are forced to quit, are demoted, and endure harassment each year because they complained about discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that, in 2021, individuals filed 34,332 retaliation claims.
This means that retaliation charges constitute over 56% of the total charges filed during that period.
The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing focuses on serving federal employees by investigating, filing, representing, and defending the federal EEO complaints of federal employees.
Federal Protections Against Discrimination and Retaliation
Numerous federal laws protect workers against discrimination in the workplace, including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act,
- Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and
- Equal Pay Act.
Under these and other laws, it’s illegal for an employer to treat employees differently because of their race, national origin, gender, sex, religion, disability, or other protected characteristic.
In addition to protecting workers against discrimination, the law also protects workers against retaliation.
Under the law, it’s illegal for employers to fire or demote employees because they filed or helped someone else file an EEOC complaint.
Can I Be Fired if I File an EEOC Complaint?
If an employee files an EEO complaint against their federal agency, such as the USPS, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, or others, it’s illegal for their employing agency to take retaliatory action.
In other words, your employer can’t fire you for filing an EEO complaint, but they can fire you for nondiscriminatory reasons.
For many federal employees, such a situation would lead to several avenues of appeal, and it’s important to choose the right forum to appeal a removal or other adverse disciplinary action.
In most situations, a federal agency via its management attempts to cover up their true incentives for firing a worker after the worker files an EEOC complaint.
Likewise, employers may not fire a worker but instead set up workplace conditions that leave the worker with no choice but to quit.
For example, your employer may “forget” to schedule you, or they may make comments about your complaint.
These practices are typically illegal if related to the EEOC complaint, and may constitute a constructive removal, involuntary resignation, or similar.
The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing is standing by to provide EEOC retaliation guidance.
Proving that your federal agency fired you (or forced you to quit) because of your federal EEOC complaint can be difficult.
Having a knowledgeable federal EEOC attorney on your side is critical to uncovering the evidence you need to prove your case.
How Can I Prove that My Employer Fired Because I Filed a Federal EEOC Complaint?
It’s uncommon for an employer to come out and say that they are firing a worker because they filed an EEOC complaint.
So, how can a worker prove that their employer fired them because of the discrimination claims?
To prove retaliation, these three basic elements need to be at play:
- The employee engaged in protected activity, which is usually filing an EEO complaint, but could be other actions as well such as requesting a reasonable accommodation.
- The agency imposed disciplinary action or other negative action, and
- The agency’s decision to take these actions was because the employee filed an EEO complaint.
When investigating retaliation claims, the EEOC looks at the circumstances of when the employer fired the worker.
The EEOC may look at the following:
- The timing of when you filed the complaint with the EEOC and the retaliation,
- The validity or invalidity of the stated reasons for firing you, and
- Other evidence that shows that the employer fired you because you filed the EEOC complaint.
Talking to an experienced attorney is critical to discovering and preserving evidence.
In addition, there are strict deadlines in place for when workers must file a retaliation charge. An attorney can help you meet these deadlines.
We Are Compassionate and Knowledgeable Federal Employment Attorneys You Can Trust
The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing proudly serves federal employees throughout the United States out of our Houston home office and remotely throughout the country.
We’ve helped hundreds of federal workers secure the relief and justice they deserve.