EEOC warns of rise in pandemic retaliation.

The past two years have created a perfect storm for employment retaliation complaints--and organizations need to make clear to managers at the start of 2022 that it's always unlawful to strike back against people who voice workplace complaints or assert their protected legal rights.

The EEOC last month updated its retaliation guidance for the COVID age, saying the pandemic created a host of new situations for retaliation to occur. The agency released a new assistance document explaining how employers should balance employees' rights under various laws (ADA, Title VII, etc.) against an employer's need to enforce COVID safety protocols.

Employee complaints of retaliation to the EEOC have increased every year for the past two decades. Employees (as well as applicants and former employees) are protected from retaliation for asserting their rights under any EEOC-enforced federal law. Protected activity can include anything from filing a job-bias charge to complaining about harassment to requesting a disability accommodation.

Plus, the EEOC said COVID has triggered many pandemic-related situations that are leading to employment retaliation. Some examples:

* During the pandemic, more employees have been asking for continued telework as a disability accommodation. Any type of punishment for such requests can trigger ADA violations.

* If an...

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