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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Challenge Yourself!

A few weeks after he quit, Daniel filed a charge of discrimination against the swimming pool supply and service company he worked for over the summer. An EEOC investigator spoke to Brian, one of Daniel's co-workers, who agreed that Lila, their supervisor, treated Daniel, who is Asian, differently than workers who were not Asian. When Lila found out about the EEOC investigation, she called Daniel and Brian and yelled at them for talking to EEOC. She also gave them negative references. Before the EEOC investigation, Lila had no complaints about Daniel or Brian's job performance. Did Lila discriminate against Daniel and Brian?

  1. A is correct.
    You are protected from retaliation (being punished, treated differently, or harassed) for reporting job discrimination to your company, filing a charge of discrimination with EEOC, or cooperating with a discrimination investigation. This is true even if it turns out that discrimination did not happen. For example, even if EEOC determined that Lila did not discriminate against Daniel based on his race, it would still be illegal for Lila to retaliate against Daniel for filing the charge, and Brian for participating in the investigation.

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  2. B is incorrect.
    The fact that the EEOC investigation may have been disruptive to the company does not matter. It is illegal for Lila to harass Daniel and give him a negative reference because he filed a charge of discrimination with EEOC. It is also illegal for Lila to harass Brian and give him a negative reference because he participated in the EEOC investigation as a witness. This is true even if EEOC determines that Lila did not discriminate against Daniel based on his race.

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  3. C is incorrect.
    It is illegal for Lila to harass Daniel and Brian and give them negative references because because Daniel filed a charge of discrimination and Brian participated in a discrimination investigation. This is true even if Lila is correct that she did not discriminate against Daniel based on his race.

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  4. D is incorrect.
    Federal law protects applicants, employees, and former employees from retaliation. It was illegal for Lila to harass Daniel and Brian and give them negative references for filing a discrimination charge and assisting in a discrimination investigation, even though they no longer work for the company.

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