Federal employment discrimination laws allow employees to voice discrimination complaints or objections (either written or spoken) without fear of reprimand or retaliation by their employer. This freedom from retaliation is granted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and protects employees from termination, demotion, harassment upon issuing a complaint. There is a wide interpretation of protected actions by an employer and illegal actions against an employee.
A new guidance proposal released on January 21, 2016 replaces and updates the 1998 guidance. Among other things, the 2016 guidance provides a platform to interpret and apply decisions by the Supreme Court and lower courts.
These include, for instance, reviewing cases which examine how cases align with the Fair Labor Standards Act, if an employer engages in “third party retaliation” (when an employee is punished by an employer for the actions of another), among other factors.
To ensure compliance with the new proposed guidelines for anti-retaliatory actions, EEOC suggested best practices include: supervisors, managers, and employees be trained on established policy; that policy be written in plain English; and that consequential employment actions be reviewed.
The proposed 2016 guidance will frame how the EEOC examines charges alleging discrimination and considers litigation. The public may provide feedback for 30 days.