Skip to main content

Educating Managers: Avoid These Dangers

A young lady with a note pad in her hand, ready to take notes.

When an employee files an EEO complaint, managers and supervisors might fall into the following behavioral traps that could result in retaliatory behaviors:

  • Taking it as a personal attack
  • Avoiding the employee and limiting the interaction with the employee
  • Questioning the employee’s loyalty
  • Backtracking and attempting to recall instances in which they treated the employee unfairly
  • Building a wall of protection from future filings by avoiding/ignoring the employee
  • Being reluctant to address performance or conduct feedback openly and honestly
  • Going out the way to appear fair and equitable
  • Rallying with other managers to garner support and often creating an “us versus them” mindset
  • Not taking the EEO complaint seriously

The issue at hand in all of the above scenarios begins and ends with a change in the relationship between the manager and employee once the employee files an EEO complaint. It’s a natural tendency to view others who accuse you of a wrongdoing with a cautious eye of suspicion. So, what can managers and supervisors do to positively move forward?

The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) published a blog post last year that offered seven tips for managers and supervisors to avert retaliatory actions against employees who had reported or opposed discrimination or been a party to an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) discrimination investigation. These actionable tips remain useful for managers and supervisors to follow.

In the next blog post, we’ll offer more advice -- 10 Interpersonal Skills for Managers to Prevent Retaliation. This information is essential to managers, so stay tuned! You can also register for Anti-Retaliation Training this month. We have Anti-Retaliation for Supervisors on August 16 and Anti-Retaliation Training for Employees on August 23. You can attend in person or via WebEx.

Do you have a story idea for us? Do you want to submit a guest blog? If it's about equity, diversity, or inclusion, please submit to

For news, updates, and videos, follow or subscribe to EDI on: Twitter, Instagram, Blog, YouTube.