After bias complaint, keep calm & manage on: Half of EEOC discrimination claims now include a retaliation charge.


"Don't get mad, get even." It may be a good motto for action movies, but it's a terrible management style. Still, an increasing number of supervisors continue to respond to employee complaints by punishing workers with discipline, pay cuts or even termination.

In 2018, more than half (51.6%) of the 76,000 employee complaints of job discrimination filed with the EEOC included a complaint of retaliation (see chart). That's an all-time high and more than double the percentage (25%) from just two decades ago.

Why the increase?

When employees file complaints of race, age, sex or disability discrimination with the EEOC, their lawyers routinely tell the workers to look out for any type of punishment from management. That way, employees can tack a retaliation charge onto the main complaint. Plus, a Supreme Court ruling made retaliation easier to prove in court.

Recent example: A Lowe's store worker saw her full-time job cut to part-time right after she filed a race discrimination complaint. She sued for retaliation and the court sent her case to trial. Even if her race-bias claim is a loser, she can win on the retaliation charge. (Barnett v. Lowe's, ED PA)

Top job-bias claims in 2018 Percentage of employee discrimination complaints to EEOC that contained each type of charge: Retaliation 51% Sex 32% Disability 32% Race 32% Age 22% Source: EEOC...

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