EEOC Reports Increase in Employer Retaliation Claims
October 20, 2009
As California Labor and Employment Lawyers, we have been following recent reports tracking the rise of employee retaliation complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to EEOC data, retaliation charges rose 23% in fiscal year 2008 to 32,690--more than a third of all claims filed with the agency.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reported that retaliation complaints have nearly tripled since the EEOC started recording the data in 1992. The 2009 statistics aren't yet available, but according to the article, employment lawyers claim that there will be a rise in retaliation cases, especially among workers who have been laid off. EEOC officials also cite that many complaints come from laid off workers--and that retaliation is often easier to prove than discrimination, after the Supreme Court redefined a broader meaning of retaliation in 2006.
EEOC assistant general counsel Carolyn Wheeler stated that eliminating retaliation is the top priority of the commission. She claimed that in order to enforce anti discrimination laws, people need to stand up and file complaints. Said Wheeler, "If people don't feel free to do that, these laws don't get enforced."
In a recent case last month, the EEOC sued Childress Engineering Services for allegedly retaliating against a female employee, Jennifer Green. Green claimed to experience hostile and sexually explicit comments from her male colleagues throughout her employment. She made a formal complaint in January 2008. According to the EEOC, Green was chosen for layoffs a month later because she stepped up as a whistleblower. An attorney for Childress claimed that Green was laid off because of the current economic climate and because she was the newest employee with the company.
According to the EEOC website, an employer may not fire, demote, harass or retaliate against an individual employee for filing a charge of discrimination, being involved in a discrimination proceeding, or opposing workplace discrimination.
Over 25,999 retaliation charges were resolved by the EEOC in 2008, and more than $111 million were recovered in monetary benefits for aggrieved individuals and charging parties (this does not include monetary benefits received through litigation).
Our Anaheim-based Labor and Employment Lawyers know how to defend retaliation and discrimination in your Orange County or Southern California employment issue. Contact Howard Law, PC today, for a free consultation.
Employer Retaliation Claims Rise, Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2009
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