Here in the State of Florida, and elsewhere throughout the country, employees and job applicants are protected from various forms of discrimination. Employees are also protected from retaliation by employers when they engage in certain types of behavior related to these protections. If you’re a business owner in Florida and an employee or job applicant thinks that his or her rights have been violated, you may receive something called a “EEOC complaint” (or “EEOC charge”). The EEOC – which stands for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – is a federal administrative agency which assists in the enforcement of the federal government’s employment-related anti-discrimination laws.
In this post, we will discuss what employers should do if they ever receive one of these complaints. Above all, employers should not panic, and understand that the EEOC recognizes the fact that employers are innocent until proven guilty.
Review the Specifics of the EEOC Complaint
If an employee or job applicant does file a complaint against your company, you will a specific document called a “Notice of a Charge of Discrimination” from the EEOC. You will want to review this document carefully. This document will provide at least some information related to the charge. When you review this document, be sure to keep in mind that this charge doesn’t mean anything about the probability of a finding of discrimination in your case, it is only a notice which indicates that a charge has been made.
Drafting an EEOC Position Statement
In some cases, the EEOC complaint may request something called a “position statement.” The position statement is essentially an official response to the allegations launched by the complaint. This is your opportunity to state your version of the events, and make your case as to why the allegations are either false or not illegal. You are not required to have the assistance of a lawyer when your draft this position, although you may choose to use a lawyer. Using a lawyer is highly recommended, because the position statement is exceedingly important, and can have a major impact on the outcome of the case.
Consider a Mediation
At no cost to you, you can attempt to resolve the case through something called a “mediation,” which is essentially a way to resolve the issue outside of a courtroom. In mediation, you will be assigned a mediator, which is a person who will attempt to listen to both parties and develop a solution which is equitable given the circumstances of the case. Importantly, mediation is confidential, participation does not equate to an admission of guilt, and participation may end up being a very cost-effective solution when compared to litigation.
Prepare for Your Case
In addition to these things, you should also work hard to prepare for your case. This means responding in a timely fashion to all communication and requests from the EEOC. It also means retaining the documents necessary to support your case. When the EEOC complaint is made, you will be assigned an EEOC investigator who will be used as a point of contact throughout the investigation. Be sure to reply to this person in a timely manner, and reach out if you have any questions.
Contact the Trembly Law Firm for More Information
Receiving an EEOC complaint may be a frightening experience, but it’s important that you refrain from panicking. If you cooperate and do everything which is required, you can resolve the matter in a cost-effective and relatively painless way. If you’d like more information, contact the Trembly Law Firm today. Call us at (305) 431-5678 to discuss a potential EEOC complaint case today.