What Federal Employees Can Do When They Experience Retaliation at Work


When federal workers have their rights violated by their employers, they may make formal or informal complaints. Although prohibited by law, some employers may take negative actions against these employees as a punishment for asserting their rights. This kind of situation can lead to unpleasant or hostile work environments and loss of employment, as well as cost an employee their promotions or opportunities. Thus, every federal employee must understand their rights against retaliation to protect themselves. 

Understanding Retaliation

Retaliation occurs when an employer takes adverse actions against an employee for filing an EEOC complaint or taking part in an EEOC investigation. It includes actions like transferring the employee to less desirable or prestigious work or worksites, giving them poor performance ratings without proper cause, or terminating their employment. Federal employees who experience retaliation should contact a Federal Employee Rights attorney Virginia to get legal representation. 

Who Gets Protection Against Retaliation?

Protections against retaliation apply to all employees of any employer, employment agency, or labor organization covered by the EEO laws.  These include current and former seasonal, part-time, temporary, or full-time employees. All of the federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC prohibit retaliation, as does the False Claims Act.

Possible Remedies for Retaliating

The EEOC may offer some remedies when retaliation takes place. Sometimes, the agency may order employers to pay compensatory or punitive damages as punishment. Also, it may require employers to offer other relief like reinstating employees to their previous work positions or giving them back pay. 

If the employer can prove their employer demoted them because of their report to HR or EEOC of the harassment they experience in the workplace, they can recover the lost wages they have suffered because of the demotion. Also, they may be able to recover the wages they will continue to lose in the future if they are reinstated to their previous position. Moreover, the employee can ask for an award of pain and suffering, which includes negative emotions, reputational harm, and other negative consequences they have experienced because of the retaliation. Their attorney may need to have a mental health expert assess the employee and testify at trial about their injuries. 

Importance of Seeking Legal Assistance

Often, it is not easy for federal employees to assert their rights in the workplace. Going up against employers who retaliated against them is even more daunting. That is why they may benefit from hiring a federal employment lawyer. Their attorney will guide them through the process, as well as make sure their rights and interest are protected.