Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q&A Session – False EEO Complaints

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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.

Q:

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?

A:

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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Comments

  1. 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??

  2. 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

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