A basic overview of the EEOC charge process

by on May 12, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

EEOC complaints can be filed by current or former employees for a variety of reasons

Filing and investigatory bodies for EEOC charges
A disgruntled applicant, employee or former employee may file an Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) charge. The EEOC charge must be filed within 180 days of the alleged unlawful employment practice for a non-deferral state or county and within 300 days for a deferral jurisdiction.

A deferral jurisdiction is one where the EEOC charge is first filed with a state agency. So, if you’re in a state where there’s a state agency, then the person has 300 days to file. A copy of the charge gets doubly sent both to the EEOC and to the state agency.

The beginning of the EEOC charge process
If an EEOC charge gets filed against your company, they typically notifiy the company by mail within about ten days of its receipt of the charge. And that notification normally includes a copy of the charge. It briefly identifies the complainant who is also known as the charging party; the basis of the complaint, is it race, religion, national origin, sex, et cetera; and the issues, is it about hiring, promotion, discharge. It will identify hopefully the dates of the alleged discrimination as well. The person making the charge must to do so under oath or affirmation. So, that document needs to be signed.

Along with the charge, you’re going to get some other forms. One of them is a pretty clear explanation of the EEOC charge process, as well as explanations of an employer’s obligations to retain records pertaining to the charge, and of all of the non-retaliation provisions covered by the laws of the EEOC oversees. You may also get an invitation to mediate the charge in the notification packet.

Legal basis for EEOC charge
The EEOC enforces title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin and religion. It also enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Equal Pay Act.

So, if somebody is filing an EEOC claim based on, say sexual orientation or marital status, that’s not going to be handled by the EEOC. However, as you probably know, many states have their own state equivalents to the EEOC. And there are also some jurisdictions that have local agencies as well. And those state local agencies are going to enforce the state anti-discrimination law.

So, if someone makes a claim that they’re being discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, that’s going to be a state claim if the state law covers sexual orientation of the protected category.

That being said, each state agency has its own rules for charges and the intake procedure and what employers are supposed to do. So, if you’ve got a state agency, you’d want to look at those particular rules to make sure you’re following all of them. But a lot of what we’re talking about today will be the same regardless of whether it’s an EEOC charge or state agency EEO case.

Remember EEOC charge is based on these prerequisites Title VII and the ADA apply to employers with 15 or more employees, the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act) applies to employers with 20 or more employees. The Equal Pay Act applies to employers with one or more employees.

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