Your company received an EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) charge. Now what?
You will need to respond to the charge, usually with a position statement, which is a document outlining defenses and the company’s side of the story. Sometimes the EEOC will grant an extension of time to respond to the charge, but generally it is best to contact your company’s employment lawyer as soon as you receive an EEOC charge.
An EEOC charge is not a lawsuit. Employees must first file with the EEOC and let the EEOC process run its course before they can go to court.
The EEOC can also ask for documentation, witness interviews, and conduct worksite visits.
The employer and employee will be provided the opportunity to elect to mediate the case. Mediation generally must be agreed upon by both parties for it to occur.
Coverage Tip: Your corporate insurance may help cover legal fees. Contact your insurance broker to see if you can get coverage help. If you don’t have EPLI (Employment Practice Liability Insurance) coverage, you may want to consider adding it. EPLI coverage can give you insurance coverage when an employee sues you or files an EEOC charge.
Settlement: An EEOC charge can be settled informally between the parties. This is the most likely outcome. Many times, a strong EEOC charge will settle at mediation.
If the parties cannot reach an informal resolution, usually the employee will receive a Notice of Right to Sue Letter, which is a letter from the EEOC allowing the employee to file a lawsuit in court.
In rare instances where there is a major violation, the EEOC will file suit in federal court against the employer. However, this is not usually the case. Typically, the EEOC will conduct its investigation, and if the case doesn’t settle among the parties, the employee will receive their Notice of Right to Sue Letter. If the case is strong, or the employee has strong feelings about what happened, they can choose to file a lawsuit.
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