Do Not Retaliate for EEO Complaints Against a Former Employer


It might seem reasonable that an employer might not want to hire someone that they know has sued a prior employer. However, what seems reasonable, unfortunately, can be illegal under applicable antidiscrimination laws, as a recent Equal Employment Opportunity Commission press release makes clear.

The EEOC noted that the employer had withdrawn an offer of employment when it discovered that she had previously filed a pregnancy discrimination complaint and EEOC charge against a former employer. As the EEOC stated, this action violates Title VII, which not only protects individuals from discrimination in employment on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion and color, but also from retaliation for exercising rights under the law – such as by making a discrimination complaint or filing a charge of discrimination, including against a prior employer.

The employer’s actions in this case resulted in a $60,000 settlement, as well as training and posting requirements, in addition to this negative press release. As such, it provides a striking warning to employers that they should not consider an applicant’s (or employee’s) prior EEO activity in making employment decisions.