EEOC complaint findings can be the resolution to the EEOC but the start of a lawsuit for you
Cause or no cause
They may find cause in an EEOC complaint finding. There are a small percentage of the filed EEOC complaint actually finds cause; two and a half to 4% of their cases, they find cause to proceed. In that case they would invite the parties to enter into conciliation discussions to resolve the matter and if that’s unsuccessful then either the EEOC will file a lawsuit or the complainant may.
There also might be no cause and the right to sue letter or other certain types of administrative dismissals. They can’t find the complainant. They don’t have jurisdiction, etcetera.
If the EEOC issues a no cause finding and a right to sue letter to resolve the EEOC complaint, the complainant gets that letter saying, “We’re dismissing and there are a number of reasons they can dismiss. And you’ve got 90 days to file a suit under Title VII, the ADA or the ADEA in federal court and two years for the Equal Pay Act.”
If you get that kind of right to sue letter, it’s on EEOC form 161 and it explains the reasons the EEOC is closing its case. It has eight or nine boxes and they’ll say, you know, you have failed to state a claim. Your allegations did not involve a disability as defined by the ADA. Your respondent employer has less than the required number of employees, etcetera.
The most frequently checked off box on the EEOC complaint finding is the one that says, “The EEOC issues the following determination: Based upon its investigations, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violation of the statutes. This is not certified that the respondent is in compliance with the statutes. No finding is made as to any other issues that might be construed as having been raised in this charge.” This is the box most frequently checked on EEOC complaint findings and then it says you’ve got 90 days to sue.
How to avoid charges from your EEOC complaint.
Have an internal dispute resolution process. You want to have it and use it and be sure that employees know about it.
You want employees to know that the company takes this stuff seriously and if they go, it will be treated – they’ll be treated with respect. They’ll be treated fairly and they’ll be given their day.
You want to train managers how to treat employees and what their legal obligations are. And train employees how to treat each other and how to raise concern. And in that way, you’re likely to, somewhat, minimize the charges that you are going to get.
These are the edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar “EEOC Charges: How to Prepare an Airtight Response and Avoid Costly Payouts” by Alyssa Senzel, Esq. on Feb. 14, 2007
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