Individuals who raise claims of discrimination (formally called disparate treatment discrimination) are alleging that their manager or other employee intentionally subjected them to an adverse action on the basis of their race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, genetic information, or disability. These bases are referred to as “protected groups.” In discrimination cases, the employee may allege that the manager treated an employee in one protected group differently than others in a different protected group (e.g., female employee alleges that male employee was treated more favorably than her).
Managers should be aware that in the absence of a legitimate explanation, the reason for the different treatment is assumed to be unlawful discrimination. In other words, managers must always have a legitimate nondiscriminatory or “business” reason for taking an action against a subordinate employee, or treating employees differently. Employees who believe they are victims of discrimination may file a complaint with their respective Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) office.
The attorneys in the ELLU assist managers in addressing employee allegations of discrimination. This includes, but is not limited to, defending the Department against EEO complaints of discrimination.