Federal Legal Corner: Stereotyping, Bias Claims

The U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia recently held that a homosexual male federal employee stated a claim of sex stereotyping as he alleged that the agency denied him promotions and created a hostile work environment due to his nonconformity with male sex stereotypes.No. 12-1290 (CKK) (3/31/14).The court also found that the employee stated a claim of religious discrimination due to his failure to follow his supervisor’s religious beliefs.

The employee had alleged that his supervisor gave him religious lectures before he learned of his sexual orientation.After the supervisor’s daughter learned of his sexual orientation, the supervisor began almost every work-related conversation with a religious lecture.The court found that the religious harassment was not due exclusively to the employee’s orientation because the supervisor’s religious proselytizing began before the supervisor learned of his sexual orientation.The court saw “no reason to create an exception . . . for employees who are targeted for religious harassment due to their status as a homosexual individual.”

The court also allowed the employee’s retaliation claim to move forward, finding that the supervisor’s alleged statements were “strongly probative of retaliation.”

However, the court dismissed the employee’s constructive discharge claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies as he did not include the claim on his EEO complaint. The constructive discharge claim was based on the employee’s inability to return to workplace where he had to confront constant discriminatory treatment from his supervisors.Although the employee argued that his constructive discharge claim was reasonably related to his EEO complaint because the same facts that supported his discrimination claims supported his claim of constructive discharge, the court rejected his attempt to “piggy-back” his claim on his properly exhausted claims.

This case points out the importance of amending any EEO complaints to include all further acts of retaliation, including any claims of constructive discharge.

* This information is provided by the attorneys at Passman & Kaplan, P.C., a law firm dedicated to the representation of federal employees worldwide. For more information on Passman& Kaplan, P.C., go to http://www.passmanandkaplan.com.

The attorneys at Passman& Kaplan, P.C, are the authors of The Federal Employees Legal Survival Guide, Second Edition, a comprehensive overview of federal employees’ legal rights. To order your copy, go to http://www.passmanandkaplan.com. This book originally sold for $49.95 plus s&h, but is now available for $29.95 plus s&h.