Q & A Session – Reprisal/Retaliation Following EEO Complaint


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 was recently terminated as a probationary employee because I filed an EEO complaint against management. Soon after, I was terminated. Management cited performance and conduct issues, of which I had none. During the informal stage, management stated that they had known that an EEO complaint was out there against them, but they did not know who filed the complaint. Although I highly doubt that they actually did not know, I don’t know how to prove that. My understanding is that if the agency was aware of the EEO complaint then they are officially notified. In this case, can I claim reprisal/retaliation adverse action by management? Or do I need to prove the pretext motive?


Yes, you can claim reprisal. You must, as a part of your case, prove that management knew about your case. You can do this by looking at the EEO counselor’s report which probably indicates which management officials were called and when. Beware of the 45-day time limit to respond.

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

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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