Federal Agencies Join Forces To Combat Employer Retaliation

White and Williams LLP

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) are joining forces to combat employer retaliation. The agencies plan to coordinate their efforts in various ways including referring cases to each other to better enforce anti-retaliation efforts. Employers in the agricultural, garment manufacturing, meat packing, hospitality, casino and care facility industries should also note that their workers’ claims may be subject to close scrutiny by the agencies.

When investigating a charge, if the lead agency believes that there may be unlawful conduct that also falls within the jurisdiction of another agency, the lead agency will advise the worker about potentially filing a complaint with the relevant agency and provide the agency’s contact information and informational materials about statutory rights and remedies available to the worker. Agencies will conduct coordinated investigations for overlapping statutory violations. The agencies also plan to share information from their investigation and complaint files on related issues such as unlawful compensation practices, retaliatory discipline or discharge, discriminatory hiring practices or other unlawful employment practices.

Employers should be aware that the NLRB, EEOC and the DOL are processing worker complaints from not only the perspective of how it implicates their agency’s authority, but also their sister agencies. Employers should expect increased litigation as the agencies perfect their coordination of enforcement efforts. Employers should now take proactive action to view internal worker complaints or issues from the perspective of various possible labor and employment law violations.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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