As a Seattle employment attorney, I know that the job market is tough in recent years, which makes facing discrimination on the job that much more difficult. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Office Max after an employee who had been fired, and then rehired, after complaining about race discrimination accused management of retaliatory behavior. The EEOC alleges that a Hispanic sales associate was fired after complaining about on the job discrimination. He was rehired, but claims that his manager began “a pattern of retaliatory conduct” toward him. The EEOC is suing Office Max on his behalf for retaliation.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only guarantees all workers the right not to be discriminated against in the workplace, but it protects against employers who retaliate against workers for making complaints. Here in Washington, we are an at-will employment state, which means that in most cases, an employee or an employer can end an employment relationship at will, without cause. However, employers must follow federal laws protecting employees for certain types of behavior. One of those, of course, is race discrimination, but it is also important to know that, if you complain about discrimination in the workplace, you are also protected from retaliation by the employer.