A recent case determined that a fired federal employee could bring a claim
of retaliation against a federal employer. The decision was the result
of the court’s review of
Diggs v. HUD, a “mixed case” based on bothretaliation and
employment discrimination. Although the court determined it lacked proper jurisdiction to decide
this case, it was significant in determining that Title VII prohibits
retaliation in federal employment.
A mixed case is one that includes both a claim of some form of employment
discrimination – here
sex discrimination – and an adverse action. In the present case, the adverse action
was Diggs’ termination. If you believe you have been subject to
any form of discrimination or have been retaliated against after complaining
of discrimination, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable
Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer to evaluate your claim and determine your next steps.
Here, an employee of HUD, Diggs, was terminated based on misconduct charges
including the following: 1) Rude, disruptive, aggressive or intimidating
behavior; and 2) Misrepresentation. As a defense to the misconduct charges
filed against Diggs, Diggs claimed that she was actually fired because
she had previously filed a sex bias claim. A sex bias claim is based on
the assertion that an employer has discriminated against you “because
of” your sex. Title VII prohibits taking adverse actions such as
termination, failure to promote and suspensions because of your gender.
Additionally Title VII prohibits retaliation if you complain about discrimination.
This is intended to protect employees so that they are not afraid of complaining
about work place discrimination, or helping others who file complaints.
Prohibited retaliation includes actions such as being demoted, terminated,
moved to a worse location or given worse hours. However, the Supreme Court
has not expressly ruled on whether the ban on retaliation applies to public-sector
In evaluating whether Title VII bans retaliation in federal employment
as in private employment, the Federal Circuit determined that when Congress
broadly drafted provisions preventing ‘any discrimination’
it intended to bar the government from “engaging in, among other
practices applicable to employers, retaliation against an employee who
complains of illegal discrimination.”
This decision is important because it determined that Title VII prohibits
retaliation in federal employment, not just private employment.
For more information or if you believe you have been subjected to any form
of employment discrimination or retaliation, contact the experienced
Atlanta employment lawyers at The Buckley Law Firm, LLC for a confidential consultation.