"Federal managers need to abide by merit system principles, even when there is outside pressure to retaliate. [...] It's vital that federal managers protect employees who anger outside interests when they uncover potential wrongdoing as a part of their job."
It is not uncommon for federal government supervisors who are the subject of an anonymous IG investigation to harbor ill will against the employees whom they believe blew the whistle on them. And we frequently encounter cases where federal employees believe they have been targeted by their supervisor because the supervisor believes that the employee complained about them to the IG when in fact the employee did not.
In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released proposed guidance on how federal employment laws apply to employee claims of retaliation. This guidance could potentially expand the types of employer actions that constitute illegal retaliation.
Federal employees facing discrimination, harassment or retaliation in the workplace have the right to bring an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaint. These complaints can be powerful tools to hold employers accountable and to ensure that federal workplaces are as free as possible of illegal discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
All too often, people try to endure harassment, discrimination or even intimidation and threats at work. This conduct goes well beyond normal workplace stress or anxiety, and constitutes illegal activity. If you have been forced to quit your job due to your employer's illegal conduct, you may have legal recourse. When an employer makes an employee's working conditions intolerable and an employee resigns due as a result, the employee can file a lawsuit on the grounds of constructive discharge.
Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse action against an employee who is engaged in activities that are protected under the law. For example, employees who report sexual harassment, discrimination or other illegal activities cannot face discipline, termination, demotion or other adverse actions. Unfortunately, many employers, including federal agencies, illegally retaliate against employees for exercising their rights. These acts can have a devastating impact on a person's career and well-being.
During 2010, at a time when U.S. unemployment rates remained high and economic growth stagnant, 300 employees of the U.S. General Services Administration gathered in Las Vegas for an extravagant $823,000 Western Regions conference. As reports of the costly event broke, taxpayers and Washington officials were outraged to learn of the $7,000 sushi reception, $3,200 mind reader and $130,000 scouting trips funded by taxpayer dollars.
Losing your job unexpectedly is always a severe blow. Those who have been terminated often experience shock, anger, stress, worry and fear. Wrongful termination, or being illegally fired, has a particular sting. This may be especially true in cases where the termination constitutes retaliation in response to an action you legally took. After suffering a wrongful termination, many people want to do something to stand up for themselves and to protect their rights and interests.
Employees in Washington, D.C. are generally considered to have employment at will. This means that an employee may leave employment or an employer can terminate an employee for no cause at any all. Despite this general employment-at-will, however, there are situations in which the firing of an employee is considered to be unlawful. For example, situations involving retaliation often constitute wrongful termination. An employee fired in retaliation may have a legal case against his or her employer for compensation or restitution.