“Don’t retaliate! (We really mean it)”: EEOC and Second Circuit Crack Down on Workplace Retaliation

September 8, 2016

On August 25, 2016, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued final enforcement guidance on employer retaliation (the “Guidance”).  The Guidance addresses retaliation under each of the statutes enforced by EEOC, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Title V of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).  The EEOC explained that retaliation is now the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination, making up 45% of all complaints filed with the EEOC and surpassing racial discrimination in 2009.  

A few days after the Guidance was issued, the Second Circuit came down with a decision in Vasquez v. Empress Ambulance Service, Inc., No. 15-3239, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 15889 (2d Cir. Aug. 29, 2016).  Here, the Second Circuit held that an employer may be liable for retaliation if its negligence gives effect to an employee’s retaliatory animus and causes another employee to suffer an adverse employment action. 

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