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EEOC Received Record Number of Retaliation Complaints in 2011

Retaliation complaints are on the rise. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 37,334 complaints of retaliation in fiscal year 2011. That's an increase from 36,258 complaints in FY 2010 and sets a record for the largest number of retaliation complaints in a single year. The 37,334 charges of retaliation accounted for 37.4% of all claims filed with the EEOC in the fiscal year and were the most numerous type of claim received. The EEOC awarded $147.3 million for retaliation complaints, not including awards obtained through litigation, in FY 2011.

In recent litigation, the EEOC sued Matrix LLC, a large cleaning company, for racially discriminatory practices and for retaliation. In the retaliation part of the claim, the EEOC alleged that the company told a white supervisor not to hire black workers for a particular job. The supervisor went ahead and hired black workers anyway, based on their qualifications for the job. The company then fired the supervisor in retaliation for her refusal to follow the company's racially discriminatory policies. Matrix agreed to pay $450,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Retaliation can be more subtle than it was in the Matrix case. Illegal retaliation includes firing, demoting, refusing to promote, harassing, or negatively affecting any other aspect of employment of employees who filed discrimination charges or complained in good faith about discrimination on the job. It's important that managers understand what retaliation is so that they are able to avoid it. WeComply's online Avoiding Retaliation training course gives managers the information they need to help them avoid this potential minefield. 

Categories: Discrimination & Harassment Compliance

ACC Alliance PartnerProskauer
Thomson Reuters