If an employee complains to you about discrimination or harassment, you must that employee
with care, because any action you take which the employee could view as punishment or
retaliation for the complaint might be construed as illegal retaliation and result in legal action
against you and your company.
Recently, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC) announced
preliminary sexual harassment data from the 2018 fiscal year. Based on the preliminary data, in
fiscal year 2018:
The EEOC filed 66 harassment lawsuits, including 41 that included allegations of sexual
harassment. That reflects more than a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual
harassment over fiscal year 2017.
In addition, charges filed with the EEOC alleging sexual harassment increased by more than
12 percent from fiscal year 2017.
Overall, the EEOC recovered nearly $70 million for the victims of sexual harassment through
litigation and administrative enforcement in fiscal year 2018, up from 2018, up from $47.5
million in fiscal year 2017
Anti-retaliation laws ensure that people are not discouraged from speaking out against
discrimination. According to the EEOC, “Retaliation is the most frequently alleged basis of
discrimination in the federal sector and the most common discrimination finding in federal sector
The increase in charges filed with the EEOC, along with the heightened awareness brought about
b the #MeToo movement and the promotion of prevention strategies such as bystander
intervention, make it more important than ever that employees and supervisors are aware of
another illegal behavior – retaliation.
Property Manager Cannot Act in a Way
That Appears to Retaliate for a Complaint
A manager may not fire, demote, harass or otherwise retaliate against an individual for filing a
complaint of discrimination, participating in a discrimination proceeding or otherwise opposing
discrimination. This type of behavior is called retaliation, and it is illegal.
Anti-retaliation laws serve important purposes. Not only do they protect employees from
retaliatory behavior, but they also help ensure that people are not discouraged from speaking out
against discrimination or participating in the EEOC’s administrative process or other
employment discrimination proceedings.
To address retaliation, organizations must recognize the potential for retaliation and also make
sure supervisors know the acceptable and unacceptable responses to protected activity under the
If You Are In a Multifamily Supervisory
Role, Here are Some Important Things to Know
Any employee who voices a concern about discrimination or harassment must be treated
Make sure that no one is treated differently for voicing a concern and don’t avoid an
employee who has done so. This might create a retaliation claim instead of preventing one.
It is also important to have thorough and timely communications with your Human
Resources department and document all supervisor actions involving employee counseling
and discipline, complaints or to other possible situations which could be used to create a
While it may be difficult not to take an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) allegation
personally, it is important, if you are involved in such a situation, to take a step back to consider
your reactions. A negative change of behavior toward an employee after an EEO allegation can
be perceived as retaliatory.
Here are some ways you, as a supervisor, can prevent retaliation:
Avoid publicly discussing the allegation.
Do not share information about the EEO activity with any other managers or subordinates
Be careful not to isolate the employee.
Avoid reactive behavior such as denying the employee information, equipment or benefits
provided to other employees who are performing similar duties.
Do not interfere with the EEO process.
Provide clear and accurate information to the EEO staff, EEO investigator or judge.
Do not threaten the employee witnesses or anyone else involved in the processing of a
Ellen Clark is the Director of Assessment at Grace Hill. Her work has spanned the entire
learner lifecycle, from elementary school through professional education. She spent over 10
years working with K12 Inc.’s network of online charter schools – measuring learning,
developing learning improvement plans using evidence-based strategies, and conducting
learning studies. Later, at Kaplan Inc., she worked in the vocational education and job training
divisions, improving online, blended and face-to-face training programs, and working directly
with business leaders and trainers to improve learner outcomes and job performance. Ellen lives
and works in Maryland, where she was born and raised.
Grace Hill partners with clients to protect their multifamily business and prepare their
employees to succeed. Armed with the industry’s most robust learning platform and training catalog, Grace Hill clients are able to provide the highest standard of service to both residents and employees. Our comprehensive customer support and innovative solutions to complex business problems reassure clients that no matter what challenges they encounter, Grace Hill will help them move forward. Let’s move forward together. Contact Grace Hill at 866.472.2344.