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Third Circuit Agrees with Other Appeals Courts – Federal Employees may Bring Retaliation Claims under Title VII

Executive Summary: On March 12, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit clarified in a published opinion that federal employees may bring retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 even though the federal-sector provision does not explicitly reference retaliation. Komus v. Secretary of the United States Department of Labor (3d Cir. 2019).

Inability to get along with co-workers can be sufficient basis for adverse employment action.

Employers often are hesitant to discipline or fire an employee who is in a protected class, knowing that the potential for lawsuit can be higher in those circumstances. This issue was addressed directly by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion in which an employee failed to prove that the company’s reason for not re-hiring him after a layoff – that he was a “troublesome employee” – was a pretext for age discrimination.
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