In an interesting turn of events, a federal agency charged with enforcing the laws designed to protect employees from discrimination was sued for discrimination earlier this year.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is accused of violating the Rehabilitation Act by a former judge. The law works to protect workers from discrimination when the worker suffers from either physical or mental disabilities.
EEOC Accused of Unlawful Retaliation
In this case, the former administrative law judge alleges the federal agency discriminated against her based solely on the fact that she suffers from multiple sclerosis and systemic lupus.
The judge, Mary Bullock, sought accommodations allowed under the Rehabilitation Act. She alleges the agency retaliated against her after requesting these accommodations.
Retaliation is a separate allegation connected to the original discrimination claim. A retaliation claim is made after the initial violation or discriminatory practice is reported. If the employer responds to the allegation by treating the employee unfairly, retaliation is present.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the retaliation lawsuit alleges the EEOC changed the judge's deadlines so that they were stricter than her non-disabled co-workers, did not allow her to work from home and prevented any opportunity for promotions. Ultimately, after filing her complaint the judge states she was "ostracized and effectively discharged" from her position with the EEOC.
Legal Remedies Available for Victims of Retaliation
Legal remedies are available for victims of retaliation. Both federal and state laws offer protections and can extend to cover reinstatement to the original position prior to retaliation, payment of lost wages and additional compensation.