Getting a charge from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is not the way most employers or HR professionals want to start the day. The number of disability discrimination and retaliation charges has been on the rise, and charges based on age, gender, and national origin discrimination have also increased. No matter what the allegation is, every employer should respond promptly, thoroughly, and effectively to an EEOC charge of discrimination. Some practical tips for Employers are as follows:
I. Do Not Ignore The Charge
Upon receipt of an EEOC charge of discrimination, you need to review it and develop a response plan usually with the advice of legal counsel. You cannot simply ignore it and hope it goes away.
II. Preserve Relevant Documents
You need to identify all potentially relevant documents related to the charge and make sure that they are properly preserved. You very well may need these documents to support your defense, as well as guard against a spoliation or destruction of evidence claim. You should involve technology staff to avoid routine purging of e-mails, voice-mails, and internet usage records.
III. Protect Against Retaliation
If the Charging Party is still employed, you need to ensure that no retaliatory action is taken. Remind managers, supervisors, and anyone else involved with the allegations about the employer’s anti-retaliation policy.
IV. Maintain Confidentiality
Information about the charge should be shared on a strict need-to-know basis. Key personnel should strive to only discuss the matter with the person coordinating the employer’s response.
V. Notify Your Insurer
You should promptly notify your insurance company or contact of the charge of discrimination. Failing to notify your insurer could lead to a denial of coverage.