Media Employment Lawyer Discusses the Next Step After Receiving a Complaint from EEOC
As a experienced Media Employment Lawyer, clients come to me all the time with questions about what to do if you receive an EEOC compliant. If you receive in the mail a complaint from the Equal Opportunity Commission, which is the federal government bureau that deals with complaints of discrimination or the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, you have a duty to respond. They will conduct their own investigation with regard to the complaint that’s been registered. Let’s for the purposes of this argument say the individual is a female who has made the complaint that they have been sexually harassed in the workplace. As a result of that they’ve either quit their job or their workplace is so severe that they can’t keep going and they fear that they need to address it so that they can keep their job and not be terminated. The manner in which the process works is, the EEOC on a smaller nature or an individual complaint generally doesn’t get that involved. They are looking more for the bigger fish; they are looking more for the bigger process, the larger companies that affect multiple employees as to whether their policy applies in a discriminatory manner.
If it’s an individual type of case that this woman or a woman makes a complaint, then it’s usually going to be deferred to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. What they will do is issue – you’ll get served with the complaint, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission will then issue to you a request for information. It could be a request for information about the employee, or about other complaints. They’ll want to know what your policies are and want to see if you have a manual. Then they’ll want to know what it is you know about this particular complaint they’ve received from this young lady or elder lady. In this particular case, you will have an obligation to respond.
If you don’t, they will issue an order that says it is enforceable in court to come with the documents. The best thing for you to do is to respond and to say to the EEOC, okay I’ll address this and I’ll talk to you. There’s an opportunity also, that you could basically say I’m not interested in resolving this and they will defer it and issue a letter to the individual who made the complaint that says you have a right to sue the employer. We’re not going to get involved anymore because they’re not involved. If you, however, wish to participate in trying to resolve this at an earlier time, then the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission will set up a mediation date.
They could set up conferences in advance to exchange information, but then they’ll set up mediation. At that point, a Human Relations officer will intervene in the process. If there are two lawyers involved, they’ll bring the lawyers in, they’ll bring the clients in, and they’ll try to work out what it is that can be done to resolve the complaint. This could be done by terminating the employee, or resolving it in another manner in which they’re going to be transferred to a different position, something to get away from the complaining behavior. At that point in time, it’s voluntary. You can or cannot agree to the settlement proposal that they make. It could involve some compensation if that individual has quit and doesn’t have another job, but it’s a voluntary process whereby you are mediating or trying to settle the case before it goes to the next level.
If it is not settled then what the Human Relations Commission will do is issue a right to sue letter, which gives that individual 90 days to file a complaint either in the Pennsylvania court or in the U. S. District court to make their allegations of what the complaint was, the violation of law was, what they believe their damage is, and what remedy they want. At that point, you’re in court and responding to those criteria of a judge and a jury or someone else who’s going to make the decision for you.
If you have any questions about the next step after receiving an EEOC Complaint, please contact our Media Employment Lawyers for a free case evaluation.
This educational video was brought to you by experienced Employment Lawyer Paul Fellman. Our law firm proudly represents clients throughout Media, as well as Pennsylvania, the greater Philadelphia area, and New Jersey.