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EEOC seeks comment on updating retaliation guidance


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is seeking public input on proposed enforcement guidance on retaliation and related issues in an effort to update guidance last issued in 1998, the agency said Thursday.

The EEOC said in a statement that the Supreme Court and lower courts “have issued numerous significant rulings regarding retaliation under employment discrimination laws” since it last provided guidance on the issue in 1998.

It said the percentage of retaliation charges has roughly doubled since 1998, making retaliation the most frequently alleged type of violation raised with the commission. The agency said nearly 43% of all private-sector charges filed in fiscal year 2014 included retaliation claims.

The proposed guidance states that it “serves as a reference for Commission staff investigating charges alleging retaliation and related issues under all the statutes EEOC enforces. It also may be useful to EEOC staff conducting outreach, and to employers, employees, and practitioners seeking to learn more about this area of the law.”

The 30-day input period for comment ends Feb. 24, after which the commission will consider appropriate revisions before its finalization, the EEOC said.

“Retaliation is a persistent and widespread problem in the nation's workplaces,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang in the statement. “Ensuring that employees are free to come forward to report violations of our employment discrimination laws is the cornerstone for effective enforcement. If employees face retaliation for filing a charge, it undermines the protections of our federal civil rights laws. The Commission's request for public input on this proposed enforcement guidance will promote transparency. It will also strengthen EEOC's ability to help employers prevent retaliation and to help employees understand their rights.”

The proposed guidance is available here.

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