Remember to keep your position statement clear, concise, and factual
- Don’t use too many employee names when responding to the EEOC complaint.
You want to keep it simple. You want to keep names out of it to the extent that you can.
- Refer to relevant documents about the EEOC complaint and attach them to position statement.
You want to be selective. You don’t want to turn in to the EEOC a giant stack of documents where only really three or four pages were relevant.
- Read your response and position statement to EEOC complaint it as if you were an outsider.
Namely, would the people in line in front of you and behind you in your supermarket find it persuasive? Why? Because that’s your jury.
- Be as clear as possible rebutting the EEOC complaint.
You want to have a document that is understandable, that is concise and that somebody who doesn’t for your company could make sense.
- In a situation where you get a request for information, how do you respond to this?
Generally, a response should be separate from but attached to the position statement because oftentimes, you’re asked for both. If possible, narrow the scope of the request. Most agencies have canned request for information depending on whether the issue involving the EEOC complaint led to the discharge, a denial of a promotion, a failure to hire, et cetera.
These canned requests are often issued in an informational vacuum with no real knowledge about the nature of your company’s business.
Not all but most of the agencies will be willing to work with you to narrow the scope of the request to what is truly relevant to the charge.
- There are two kinds of requests for information about an EEOC complaint.
A canned request for information and tailored requests that are clearly put together after much consultation with the charging party are the two types. So, if the agency is asking specific questions, this is the place where you are going to be answering. Often, the agency will request specific sorts of information such as the names of all employees disciplined or discharged for the same or similar reasons as complainant.If the questions in your request for information seek information that you believe to be irrelevant, impermissible or unduly burdensome, the employer should object to providing it. Your objection should state clearly and completely the reason that you object to providing it.
- Create a record of reasonable cooperation.
It may lead to a discussion on how the request can best be modified so as to be reasonable for the original EEOC complaint. It will also help the company later on in defending its position if the EEOC seeks court enforcement though a subpoena to obtain that information.So again, when you’re doing a request for information, you can tailor it if they’re asking for basically the kitchen sink. You want to try and focus on the relevant time period and on similarly situated employees when you’re thinking about your responses to an RFI.
- Establish a rapport if you’re communicating with the agency staff.
You want to be professional and cordial.
- If you need an extension of time, they are likely to grant them if you’re acting in good faith.
Ask for them sparingly. You don’t want to look like you’re trying to game the system by delaying as long as possible.
With respect to their request for information, if you have a good relationship with the agency staff, you may be able to negotiate once you determine what the agency is really looking for and you can narrow the questions down to what makes sense.
Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar: “In EEOC’s Crosshairs? How to Prepare an Airtight Response and Avoid Costly Payouts” by Alyssa T. Senzel on 8-5-08
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