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Feds to Launch Inter-Agency Initiative to End Workplace Retaliation

November 12, 2021 by Victoria Turner
Feds to Launch Inter-Agency Initiative to End Workplace Retaliation
(Photo by Annie Spratt via Unsplash)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor will launch an inter-agency initiative on Nov. 17 to end rising workplace retaliation, according to a press release on Wednesday.

Advancing the Memorandums of Understanding between the department and the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this inter-agency initiative will open a dialogue next week with employers in order to curb the current rise of workplace retaliation, which the release pointed out is at a 20-year high and has only been exacerbated during the pandemic.

“Charges alleging retaliation have increased as a percentage of the total number of charges filed every year for the last 20 years,” charged EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows. 

According to the EEOC’s 2020 fiscal year enforcement and litigation data report, the agency received 67,488 charges of workplace discrimination last year and resolved 70,804 charges. Retaliation claims accounted for 55.8% of these charges. Last year alone, the agency’s toll-free number received more than 470,000 calls. 

“The current pandemic is not only a public health crisis and an economic crisis—it’s also a civil rights crisis,” Burrows stated in the February release.  “COVID-19 and its economic fallout is disproportionately impacting people of color, women, older workers, individuals with disabilities, and other vulnerable workers, and that impact has serious implications in the workplace.”

“This collaboration among federal labor enforcement agencies will form a bulwark against unlawful retaliation,” stated solicitor of Labor, Seema Nanda.

This dialogue will seek to expand the employer’s understanding of the federal labor laws governing workplace rights, while simultaneously ensuring and bolstering workers’ protections – a dual mandate dictating all three agencies’ enforcement efforts. And this cooperative effort will bolster the agencies’ enforcement efforts. For FY 2020, the EEOC secured $439.2 million for the employees that were victims of discrimination in the workplace. 

“These issues cut across multiple worker protection agencies, which is why it is so important to work collaboratively to effectively prevent and forcefully address retaliatory acts against workers,” explained NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo.

Victoria can be reached at victoria@thewellnews.com.

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