Q & A Session – Promotion While Under an EEO Investigation


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.


Can a person be promoted while under an EEO investigation? I was under the impression that an individual named in a formal complaint cannot be promoted until the final decision is released.


There is a presumption of innocence that applies in law and has become a part of our general culture. Just because an EEO complaint has been filed, that does not mean  discrimination has occurred. Also, in any given year only about 3 percent of filed EEO complaints result in a finding of discrimination. This is another good reason why there should not be a rule banning promotions of the accused of discrimination just because an EEO complaint has been field. On the other hand, an agency has discretion to look behind the allegations in an EEO complaint and to bring appropriate disciplinary or performance action against an offending supervisor.

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

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