Fact Finding Conference in the EEOC complaint process

by on May 20, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Make sure you have all your EEOC complaint information ready prior to the conference

Something that happens rarely is a fact-finding conference. They’re generally not mandatory. Sometimes the EEOC will opt to hold one and the EEOC complaince manual, with respect to the fact finding conference, says that it is “an investigative forum intended to further define the issues, determine whether it’s undisputed, clarify disputed issues and determine what other evidence is needed”.

The purpose
What they may want to do is get people talking again about the EEOC complaint. They could be holding it to facilitate more facts gathering because they felt like the position statement didn’t do enough or a settlement between the parties.

It’s not adversarial. It’s an informal investigative forum. They’re finding additional information about the EEOC complaint. They will take notes during this conference. And attorneys are permitted to be there but they’re not permitted to testify for their client or ask questions.

In the event that your investigator does want to do a fact-finding conference, you want to make sure that all the employees who are attending or participating understand what their roles are. Because the EEOC investigator is the only one who can ask questions during the fact-finding, it’s not a back and forth. It doesn’t have the parties yelling at each other, because these all has to go through the investigator.

You should consider having your counsel submit in advance a list of questions to be asked of the witnesses. If you have things you really want asked, you should submit them in advance, because the investigator will, by and large, ask them.

You want to review your position statement again to determine whether there’s any additional information you want to provide about the EEOC complaint or if you haven’t filed a position statement for some reason, to file one in advance of the conference.

Again, be prepared and know the facts behind the EEOC complaint. Decide on a spokesperson and prepare the employees as if for depositions, so that you’ve questioned them about the circumstances. They understand that they’re supposed to answer questions briefly. They don’t — you don’t want people rambling on, on irrelevant tangents to the extent that you can prohibit it.

That’s the fact-finding conference. It doesn’t happen as much, but you can be prepared for it, if it does.

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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