The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is seeking public comments on its draft proposed enforcement guidance on retaliation and related issues under federal employment discrimination laws. 

While EEOC guidance does not carry the force of law, courts often rely on the guidance in determining whether an employer has acted unlawfully. Federal employment laws make it illegal to fire, demote, harass or otherwise “retaliate” against applicants or employees because they complained to their employer about discrimination on the job, filed a charge of discrimination with EEOC, participated in an employment discrimination proceeding (such as an investigation or lawsuit) or engaged in any other “protected activity” under employment discrimination laws.

The EEOC’s last guidance update on the subject of retaliation was issued in 1998. Since then, the percentage of retaliation charges has roughly doubled, making retaliation the most frequently alleged type of violation raised with EEOC. Nearly 43 percent of all private sector charges filed in fiscal year 2014 included retaliation claims. 

Anyone seeking to comment on the draft guidance can do so here. Comments are due by February 24, 2016.