Ask The Lawyer

By Debra Roth

Q & A Session: Abusive Behavior From Supervisor After EEO Complaint

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Q:

I am a federal government employee with over twenty years of exceptional performance in the Department of Defense. I was verbally attacked by my supervisor. He got in my face while I was sitting down and he began yelling and pointing his finger in my face. When I reported the incident to higher leadership, it was ignored. They even attempted to remove me from the work space I have occupied for many years. It wasn’t until I filed an EEO complaint regarding the abusive hostile work environment that they moved my supervisor from the office we shared. However, my leadership allowed him to remain as my supervisor and rater. His behavior towards me has worsened since the EEO complaint in the form of reprisal and higher leadership appears to be fostering this abusive, hostile behavior. What can I do?

A:

Filing an EEO complaint alleging discrimination on any basis under Title VII is considered a “protected activity.” Law prohibits retaliation for opposing any practice made unlawful by Title VII, the ADEA, the Equal Pay Act, or the Rehabilitation Act, or for participating in any stage of administrative or judicial proceedings under these statutes. In order to file a reprisal complaint, you must begin the process by contacting an EEO counselor within 45 calendar days of the personnel action or event that you believe is motivated by reprisal. From there, you may file a formal EEO complaint. However, to pursue an EEO complaint, you must sufficiently claim that you were subjected to an action that would be considered materially adverse to a reasonable employee and that the action could dissuade a reasonable employee from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.

This response is written by Conor D. Dirks, associate attorney of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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Comments

  1. Locutis2112 Says:
    December 21st, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Hit him in the face with a chair…..that will bring better satisfaction than a bunch of paperwork that will never go anywhere.

  2. Jina Canestrini Says:
    December 22nd, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    I’m trying to get into calisthenics but it’s really hard to find the motivation. How are other people motivating themselves to get going with this?

  3. Spanky Says:
    January 7th, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Typical baloney response. Protection… blah! They can do whatever they want. All they have to do is stick together, lie and drive-on! Seen it happen over and over in my 30+ years. The EEO complaint process is setup for management. The stall and lie… absolutely NO oversight. In fact, each office is managed by the same leadership usually a worker is complaining to. Just see what happens if the complaintant misses a due date! Until there is a REAL oversight and enforcement, the only complaints that get through take years… and don’t even start me on agencies such as OSC.. worthless!

  4. Mr. Bill Says:
    January 17th, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I think the mind set with upper management and EEO is the same throught the federal system, cover up and ignore. If it happens again don’t report the incident to your agency’s management or the federal police. Dail 911 and file a complaint at the local police department for assault. This will open up a whole new can of worms for management to contend with that can not be covered up or ignored.