Skip to main content

"Is My Complaint of Discrimination Frivolous?"

Posted by attorney Vincent White

First and foremost, the answer to this question hinges on three important steps:

  1. Sit down and ask yourself: Do I feel I have been discriminated against?
  2. Was that discrimination based upon your membership in a protected class? (Click to see our guide explaining the current protected classes both under the Federal and New York State laws.)
  3. Meet with an experienced employment attorney to discuss the particular facts of the discrimination you feel occured so that you may explore your options and the validity of your claim. This initial consultation should be free and so should cost you nothing except a few hours of your day.

As the EEOC State in Recent Guidance:

"MYTH: Agencies devote too many resources to processing frivolous discrimination complaints. FACT: Most complaints are not frivolous and EEO resources pay dividends.

Most EEO complaints are far from frivolous. Employees usually file complaints as a painstaking last resort. In fact, federal sector rules and regulations allow for dismissal of so-called frivolous complaints. However, managers should know that publicly criticizing complainants or treating them with contempt is not just a bad idea; it may in fact violate the law. Calling complainants “whiners" or “poor performers" may result in a claim of reprisal – which is already the number one basis of complaints. Reprisal has a chilling effect on the EEO process, undermines the statutory rights of employees, and does a disservice to the spirit and intent of federal anti-discrimination laws.

It is a fallacy to infer that federal agencies are flooded with EEO complaints. The federal workforce is comprised of nearly three million employees, yet individuals who file EEO complaints are a minute fraction of that number. Less than half of one percent of the federal workforce filed an EEO complaint in FY 2010. Moreover, the EEO process, by encouraging early settlement of disputes, saves taxpayers’ money by avoiding complaints or reaching early resolutions.

Discrimination takes a tremendous toll on the workforce through lost productivity, low morale and inefficient use of human capital resources. Conversely, the creation and maintenance of a discrimination-free workplace provides immeasurable benefits that cannot be explained solely through complaint statistics."

Additional resources provided by the author

Author of this guide:

Was this guide helpful?