Employment Retaliation Claims on the Rise: Avoiding and Defending EEOC Charges and Private Lawsuits

Navigating the EEOC's New Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation, Protected Activity, Materially Adverse Actions and Causation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, April 13, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will arm employment counsel with strategies for avoiding and defending against workplace retaliation claims—the most common type of charge filed with the EEOC—in the wake of the 2016 EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues. The panel will provide guidance for developing effective policies and procedures to minimize the risk of EEOC charges and private retaliation litigation and for crafting litigation strategies that will increase the likelihood of success when defending against retaliation claims.


Employee retaliation claims continue to be the most common charge the EEOC pursues each year. During fiscal year 2015, 45% of all charges filed with the EEOC were for retaliation, with most of them centered on race or disability. Employees can bring retaliation claims under a variety of federal statutes, including Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the Rehabilitation Act, the Equal Pay Act and GINA, and the claims can linger even when the underlying allegation is without merit.

Following the issuance of the EEOC’s Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues in Aug. 2016, which broadens retaliation protections for federal and private sector applicants and employees by expanding the scope of protected employee activity, employers should prepare for a continued climb in retaliation charges and lawsuits.

Employers and their counsel must take proactive steps to minimize the risk of employee retaliation claims. Procedures outlining how to report discrimination or harassment, unbiased investigations of employee claims, and effective management and supervisor training are essential.

When faced with EEOC charges or private litigation, counsel defending employers must make strategic choices regarding information to present to the EEOC or court, effective trial themes and strategies, whether and when to pursue dispositive motions, and how to protect privileged information.

Listen as our authoritative panel of employment attorneys reviews recent trends in workplace retaliation claims. The panel will discuss the key components and impact of the new EEOC Enforcement Guidance, review recent court decisions addressing retaliation claims, and outline strategies for avoiding EEOC charges and private lawsuits and/or increasing the likelihood of success when defending against them.


  1. Review of 2016 EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues
  2. Recent case law addressing retaliation claims
  3. Best practices to minimize EEOC charges and lawsuits
    1. Written antiretaliation policy that is clear and unambiguous
    2. Training of supervisors and managers
    3. Internal complaint resolution procedures
    4. Unbiased investigation of claims
    5. Documentation of investigations and resolutions
    6. Effective employee relations practices
  4. Strategies for defending against EEOC charges and retaliation lawsuits


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What specific topics are addressed in the 2016 EEOC Enforcement Guidance on Retaliation and Related Issues?
  • How are courts ruling in recent retaliation cases? What lessons can be taken from these rulings?
  • What steps can employers and their counsel take to reduce their exposure to employee retaliation claims?
  • What are some effective strategies for employment counsel when defending EEOC charges or retaliation suits?


William C. Martucci, Partner
Shook Hardy & Bacon, Washington, D.C.

Mr. Martucci practices exclusively on behalf of management in connection with national employment litigation and policy matters. He has successfully defended various employment lawsuits and written and lectured extensively on employment law issues throughout the country. He has successfully tried a number of jury cases and has effectively managed a variety of class action cases.

Evan H. Pontz, Partner
Troutman Sanders, Atlanta

Mr. Pontz specializes in employment and labor law matters, including discrimination litigation, traditional labor law issues, compliance counseling and preventative training. He represents companies in discrimination litigation involving sex, race, age, disability, sexual harassment, FMLA leave issues, wage and hour matters, and state law tort claims, as well as in labor arbitrations, contract negotiations, and in dealing with existing or potential unions.

Sarah N. Turner, Partner
Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, Seattle

Ms. Turner's litigation experience includes defending employers in wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, invasion of privacy, defamation, and wage and hour suits in state and federal courts. She counsels, trains, and represents clients on a broad range of employment law issues, including hiring, review, and termination procedures; workplace investigations; discrimination, harassment, and retaliation issues; wage and hour law and FMLA issues. Ms. Turner also drafts and updates personnel policies, workplace privacy issues, employee handbooks, drug and alcohol policies, employment agreements, trade secret issues, and non-competition agreements.


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Employment & ERISA Advisory Board

Susan E. Bernstein

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Holland & Hart

Joshua Davis


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Barbara E. Hoey


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Diana L. Hoover


Hoover Kernell

Paul J. Kennedy


Littler Mendelson

Marcia Nelson Jackson


Wick Phillips

William C. Martucci


Shook Hardy & Bacon

Laura Foote Reiff


Greenberg Traurig

Eugene Scalia


Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

Peter Steinmeyer


Epstein Becker & Green

Teresa R. Tracy


Freeman Freeman Smiley

Todd D. Wozniak


Greenberg Traurig

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