It is something that no one wants to receive and likely doesn’t want to think about; however, if you receive notice from the EEOC that an employee or former employee has filed for a Charge of Discrimination, it is not a notice that can be ignored.
If an employer has an inkling or inclination that an employee may file a Charge of Discrimination, the employer should take immediate steps to insure that documents are properly maintained, employment issues are properly documented including such items as initial interviews with co-workers, supervisors and potentially decision makers at the management level.
- Charge Received.
Once the EEOC Charge is received. A careful review of the Charge and accompanying Notice regarding the time frame to respond to the Charge is necessary. At this point it is likely a good idea to consult with an attorney regarding the next steps to take with the EEOC. Even if the employer believes that the allegations are unfounded, the Charge should be taken seriously and a response, likely a Position Statement, should be completed, including documents that provide support for the response within the time limits set forth by the EEOC.
- EEOC Investigation.
The EEOC investigation process can be similar to discovery in a litigated matter. The EEOC has authority to conduct written discovery regarding the EEOC Charge and any items the EEOC deems relevant. Any requests for information must be responded to in a timely fashion. If additional time is needed to respond to said request, that additional time should be requested promptly with the EEOC. Typically, the EEOC will provide additional time to respond to requests as long as reasonable.
Upon receipt of a Charge of Discrimination, an employer should gather relevant documents, provide a complete position statement and promptly respond to any requests for information from the EEOC. Failure to do so can negatively impact the manner in which the Charge against the employer is resolved.
This article constitutes a brief summary regarding EEOC Charges of Discrimination. The information provided does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney/client relationship. If you have any questions regarding the contents of this article, please contact Hodges and Davis attorney Steven J. Scott.
Hodges & Davis- October 2021