By Bill Bransford
August 23rd, 2010 | Uncategorized
Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.
I have an employee that makes frequent complaints of harassment. Can this employee be brought up on charges that she caused a hostile work environment due to false EEO allegations?
Filing a hostile work environment claim against an employee requires a basis of discriminations, such as race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, etc. You cannot file a hostile work environment claim against an employee merely because she filed a complaint against you.
As for misusing the EEO process, the agency can dismiss an employee’s complaint when the complaints are “part of a clear pattern of misuse of the EEO process for a purpose other than the prevention and elimination of employment discrimination.” Under 29 C.F.R §1614.107, a clear pattern of misuse of the EEO process requires:
(i) Evidence of multiple complaint filings; and
(ii) Allegations that are similar or identical, lack specificity or involve matters previously resolved; or
(iii) Evidence of circumventing other administrative processes, retaliating against the agency’s in-house administrative processes or overburdening the EEO complaint system.
Whether to dismiss a case using this basis is a decision made by the EEO office, not the manager.
Remember, employees have a right to use the EEO system to file workplace complaints. Managers have an obligation to respect that right and to work cooperatively with the EEO process. That is part of a federal manager’s job.
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Elaine Cohen Says:
September 22nd, 2011 at 7:01 am
A supervisor who I discovered violated the Random Drug Screening Regulation, has been asking employee’s”Do you think She creates a hostile work environment?” What constitutes a Hostile work environment. I understand what is written, but merely walking around asking other persons to write someone up without any prior or present proof a any hostile environment documentation – does this constitute a Hostile Work Environment??
Scott Kroeger@rocketmail.comYes I have Says:
March 30th, 2012 at 8:58 am
I am a federal worker and have been falsly accused by another co worker of hostility in a EEO complaint .I do I defend myself against this liar. He is using the goverment system to destroy my work record and my reputation .
anyway to counter attack with a complaint . I am white he is black and is just a hater. Any advise will help me thxs scott