Florida EEOC Charge Defense Attorneys
If you are an employer and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has just issued a charge against you, what do you do now? What should you say? What should you not say? You are in a precarious situation, and it is crucial that you do not take your charge lightly. Contact our Florida EEOC charges attorneys for more information.
For immediate assistance, contact the Florida employment attorneys at Scott Wagner and Associates, P.A. Even if you don’t think you need to retain an attorney, we offer one-time advice——so you know your obligations under the law.
How does the process work?
If you are an employer covered by the EEOC, an employee must file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC within a certain time limit before he or she can file a job discrimination lawsuit against you. If this has happened, don’t panic—this does NOT mean that the government is accusing you of discrimination. It merely means that the employee believes that he or she was discriminated against, and the EEOC must now investigate the matter to determine if there is “reasonable cause” to believe that the discrimination actually occurred.
If a charge has been filed against you, you may be asked to submit a statement of position. This is your chance to present the facts that you want to present. It is important to give this information to the EEOC so that they can conclusively investigate the charge. However, there are some facts that may not relate directly to the charge and that are not critical to the investigation. If it’s not critical, don’t share it. If you don’t give your side of the story, the EEOC may issue a subpoena for information, which could end up being more costly to you than had you simply responded to the charge from the start.
If the EEOC determines that there is no reasonable cause to believe that the charging party was discriminated against, both parties will receive a Dismissal and Notice of Rights and the employee or applicant will at that time have the right to file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days. If there is reasonable cause, the commission will invite you and the other party to resolve the charge through conciliation. If conciliation efforts fail, the EEOC or the employee may file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days.
If you know that the charging party has obtained an attorney and will undoubtedly file a lawsuit once the EEOC makes its determination, you might reconsider submitting a statement of position. In a case like this, it is critical that you seek legal counsel right away so that you can best be advised as to the particulars of your case.
How do I know if my company is covered by the EEOC?
First of all, it’s important to know that not every employer is covered by the laws that the EEOC enforces. If you are unsure, consult their site for coverage requirements and other information. As a rule of thumb, most businesses with at least 15 employees (20 for age discrimination cases) are covered by these laws.
The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate or harass on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. In addition, these laws prohibit denial of a reasonable workplace accommodation and retaliation for a complaint or any assistance given in the investigation of such unfair treatment. The following people are protected under these laws:
- Job applicants
- Former employees
- Applicants/participants in a training or apprenticeship program
Cooperate with and respect the EEOC. Know your obligations.
One of the best things you can do when a charge has been filed against you is to cooperate with and respect the commission. They may request certain information from you during the investigation phase, and you are required by law to comply. However, if you are concerned about some of the information being requested, you should talk with the investigator; it is possible that you may agree to modify the information request. It may be beneficial to have a Florida employment attorney on your side who can advise you as to when to ask for such a modification. You should also not be quick to destroy any documents, as you are required by law to keep certain ones for a period of time. You should ask your investigator if you have any questions or concerns throughout the process. Contact our Florida EEOC charge attorneys for more information.
As an employer subject to the EEOC laws, you are required to keep certain records, even if no such charge has been brought against you. Failing to do so could be used against you later on, if you are charged with discriminatory behavior. You are also required to publically post the federal laws enforced by the EEOC for your employees to see, so there is no question as to the policies by which everyone is expected to abide.
To speak with a Florida EEOC defense attorney, request a consultation with one of the attorneys at Scott Wagner and Associates, P.A.