How common is retaliation in the federal workplace? Quite, according to data that was recently-released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC reported that retaliation was the most common complaint it received from federal employees over the past decade, and it was also the most commonly-cited discrimination finding in cases involving the federal sector.
In fact, during fiscal year 2013, close to half of all complaints filed by federal employees with the EEOC alleged workplace retaliation, and 42 percent of cases that involved a finding of discrimination also involved retaliation.
What is workplace retaliation?
Retaliation involves firing, demoting, harassing or otherwise taking adverse action against an employee after that employee whistleblew on illegal activities or filed complaints or grievances. Because retaliation is illegal, employers often blame the adverse action on employee misconduct or performance issues.
Retaliation can take place in many different forms. For example it could involve an employee who calls a whistleblower hotline to report questionable activity and then is passed over for a promotion or taken off of good assignments.
The worker may then get poor performance reviews despite doing acceptable work. The employee may feel like he or she is working under a microscope and that his or her behavior is scrutinized more than other workers.
What can I do about workplace retaliation?
If you believe that you are facing or have faced retaliation in the workplace, then you should talk to an experienced employment law attorney about your rights, which may include filing a complaint with the EEOC. Find out more about the EEOC and your rights here.