Monday, July 28, 2008

Opposition to Discrimination

According to the EEOC, protected activity includes opposition to a practice that is believed to be unlawful discrimination. Opposition can be shown simply by informing an employer that you believe that he/she is engaging in prohibited discrimination.

Opposition is protected from retaliation as long as it is based on a reasonable, good-faith belief that the complained of practice violates anti-discrimination law; and the manner of the opposition is reasonable. Examples of protected opposition include:

-- Complaining to anyone about alleged discrimination against oneself or others;

-- Threatening to file a charge of discrimination (e.g., an internal or external complaint);

-- Picketing in opposition to discrimination; or

-- Refusing to obey an order reasonably believed to be discriminatory.

The anti-retaliation provisions make it unlawful to discriminate against an individual because s/he has opposed any practice made unlawful under the employment discrimination statutes. This protection applies if an individual explicitly or implicitly communicates to his or her employer or other covered entity a belief that its activity constitutes a form of employment discrimination that is covered by any of the statutes enforced by the EEOC.

Because individuals often may not know the specific requirements of the anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC, they may make broad or ambiguous complaints of unfair treatment. Such a protest is protected opposition if the complaint would reasonably have been interpreted as opposition to employment discrimination.


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