When an employer faces an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) claim, the company should take the charge seriously. The EEOC makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on age, sex, race, disabilities, and other factors. When someone raises an EEOC claim against an employer, that means the establishment potentially wronged a worker or potential hire.
Employers must handle these cases according to very specific protocols and treat employees (or potential hires) with respect. Unfortunately, employers often make significant mistakes when being investigated for EEOC violations. As an employee seeking justice and fairness, you can use these mistakes to your advantage.
- Lack of Communication
Many employers do not communicate effectively during an EEOC investigation. The point person may be busy or may not take the allegations seriously, but the company has a responsibility to prove it is not guilty. Taking a long time to respond to an EEOC claim can damage the company’s ability to challenge a claim.
- Thinking an EEO Attorney Will Not Litigate
EEOC claims rarely go to court, but it does happen. Usually, the employer will offer a settlement or some other remedy to avoid this outcome. However, the EEOC is not afraid to litigate, and it will do so in certain situations, like when religious discrimination is indicated. Thinking and acting like the EEOC will not litigate is a big mistake.
In some cases, an employer may try to retaliate against you for filing an EEOC claim. If you file a sexual harassment claim, for instance, it is illegal for the company to “retaliate” by demoting you or passing you over for promotion. Your employer can (and should) be held responsible if you are fired or discriminated against because of your EEOC dispute.
- Other Illegal Activity
Infrequently, some employers who face EEOC claims try to conceal or destroy evidence, intimidate witnesses, falsify documents, or commit other illegal activities. Employers who threaten to fire coworkers for testifying can be held legally responsible and punished.
Not having an up-to-date compliance policy is the most common mistake employers make. Employers are legally required to have a policy that protects employees, and it must be easy for workers to complain if treated unfairly. Equal Opportunity laws change often, and many laborers do not have the time to stay updated. The law does not consider that an excuse. Companies with out of date or subpar HR policies can be held accountable for their actions.
If you need help fighting your employer for an EEO violation, contact The Law Offices of Eric L. Pines, PLLC today for a free consultation.