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Discrimination or Reprisal for Filing a Complaint or Giving Testimony

As a federal employee, you have the right to be free from discrimination or reprisal if you file an unfair labor practice charge against the agency or provide testimony to support a complaint filed against the agency. Section 7116(a)(4) states that it is an unfair labor practice for the agency “to discipline or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has filed a complaint, affidavit, or petition, or has given any information or testimony under this chapter.” If you have filed a ULP charge or provided testimony in support of a charge and the agency takes adverse action against you, you have a right to file a ULP charge alleging that the agency has violated Section 7116(a)(4). The types of discrimination or reprisal that are unlawful under Section 7116(a)(4) range from formal disciplinary actions to more subtle threats of being “watched” by supervisors.

For example, an employee filed a ULP charge and then distributed a questionnaire to gather information to support his ULP charge. He received a reprimand for refusing to leave the work area after a supervisor saw him gathering information and ordered him out of the work area. The employee filed a second ULP charge and the FLRA has set aside the reprimand stating that the agency had violated 7116(a)(4) by disciplining the employee for having filed a complaint.

In another case, the FLRA held that it is unlawful for supervisors to make comments to employees who were planning to testify in an FLRA hearing that they were being watched closely by supervisors. Although no formal disciplinary action was taken, the FLRA held that such comments violate Section 7116(a)(4) by interfering with the right of employees to testify in support of a ULP charge.

If you believe that you may have been subject to discrimination or reprisal for filing an unfair labor practice charge, or for having testified or provided an affidavit in support of a ULP charge, please contact your facility representative immediately.