Many companies being investigated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for possible employment discrimination are making matters worse by taking actions that could be perceived as retaliation, according to employment attorneys.

“Historically, retaliation claims can be some of the thorniest matters to defend against,” said Christopher DeGroff, a Seyfarth Shaw labor and employment partner. “A lot of employers feel they have evidence to show they did not discriminate against individuals, but when it comes to retaliation, sometimes even timing issues can create the specter of retaliation.”