Feds protected from retaliation

The Supreme Court has ruled that federal employees should have the same protections against retaliation for alleging age discrimination that apply to private-sector workers.

The May 27 decision came in the case of U.S. Postal Service worker Myrna Gomez-Perez, who alleged retaliation after she filed an age discrimination case. After she filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she said she suffered reprisals from her supervisors.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court supported a broad reading of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. It held that the law prohibits retaliation for filing age discrimination complaints just as it prohibits age discrimination itself. The act was extended to the federal workforce in 1974.

“This decision is a very welcome departure from a court that is often conservative with respect to federal employee rights,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union.

In a friend-of-the-court brief, the union had warned of gaps in employee protections if the act were narrowly construed, Kelley said.

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