Make the position statement work for you in an EEOC complaint

by on May 21, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

The position statement tells your side of the EEOC complaint in your words

A position statement is your written explanation of the non-discriminatory reasons you have, for the adverse employment actions you took that the complainant is complaining about. This is your EEOC complaint defense.

Think of it in terms of a story about the EEOC complaint.
They should very clear. They should be concise and they should be persuasive. Avoid a rambling history of the world. The EEOC does not want to hear the entire history of your company and every department and what every employee had for breakfast and all of those things.

Use clear language in your EEOC complaint response.
It is unlikely that the EEOC is going to understand your company’s acronyms and jargon and this can’t be over-emphasized because you, the HR leaders, are so involved in your company culture. You may not even know that what you’re saying doesn’t make sense to an outsider. Take a step back and think, okay, if I didn’t work here and I was reading this, would I understand what on earth I was talking about?

Check your facts and then double-check your facts and then triple check your facts.
If you put something in writing about your EEOC complaint, you want to be sure it’s accurate. And sometimes when you’re getting facts from managers and other employees, they are not as focused on the details as you need to be. Confirm your story. Tell the full story, don’t leave out important pieces, because those pieces will come out later and it looks like you were trying to hide something.

Be persuasive about your side of the EEOC complaint.
You’re going to also focus on the issues raised in the charge. You don’t want to bring up ancillary matters, if they’re not relevant, because then that opens a can of worms for the EEOC or the state agency to go looking at other things that weren’t even an issue.

Once you’ve got a draft of this document, read it as if you were an outsider. You don’t know the EEOC complaint. You’ve never heard it before. You don’t even work at this company. Does this make sense? Are there holes? Are there inconsistencies? Would the people in line in front of you and behind you in the supermarket checkout line find it persuasive? Why, because that’s your jury.

If this case gets to litigation, that will be your jury. You want to know, would an average person read this and say, okay, the complainant has no claim here. The company did a really good job. That’s what you’re going for. That’s the position statement.

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