Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session – False EEO or Harassing Conduct Allegations

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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: 

What action can be taken when employees file false SSO or Harassing Conduct Allegations? 

A: 

Federal employees have little to no recourse against other employees who file false complaints. While it is a crime to make a false statement under oath in the course of an EEO investigation on litigation, such crimes are not often prosecuted. Additionally, agencies do not often take action against such false complaints to avoid the appearance of illegally retaliating against the EEO complainant and because it is difficult to meet the burden of proving a falsehood. A civil claim of defamation may be an option. However, the typical remedy for those falsely accused of discrimination/harassment is a find that the EEO complaint lacks merit. 

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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