The position statement opening: the key to your EEOC charge defense

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

Corporate liability to an EEOC charge decreases when the claimant doesn’t use corporate channels

The position statement should start with an opening statement, which is a firm denial of the EEOC charge and a brief summary of the company’s position.

Refute the EEOC charge
This position statement responds to the EEOC charge filed by the complainant against the company in which the complainant alleges he was discharged because of his, and then fill in the blank, whatever it says in the charge, race, sex, religion, etcetera. The company strongly denies the EEOC charge, as explained in more detail below, complainant was discharged for, and then insert a brief summary of why this person was discharged; because of excessive absenteeism over an extended period of time, because of insubordination, because of failing to follow instructions. You want to get that crisp crunch of a paragraph right up front, so it provides a road map for the rest of your EEOC charge defense.

Explain the nature of your company’s business.

The agency probably knows very little or nothing about the nature of your business, so a short paragraph or two explaining the nature of your business will set the stage for your later explanations of why the decisions in the EEOC charge were made regarding the complainant are reasonable.

For example, let’s say that the complainant was a driver, a truck driver, discharged for failing a drug test. By first explaining the nature of the company’s shipping or delivery business and the types of vehicles used by the company’s drivers, that would put the serious nature of the complainant’s violation into contact.

So, whatever department or division this person works in, you want to explain, kind of what that group does as well.

Use corporate policies as a defense against EEOC charges
Next, you want to go on and talk about the company’s EEOC policy, because it’s important for you to have the agency understand that the company takes equal employment opportunities seriously and is not going to tolerate employment discrimination or harassment.

You want to explain the policies that you do have in place and if appropriate, you want to actually quote key policy provisions from your employee handbook or from whatever other documents you’ve got that sets them forth.

If you have a situation where the complainant didn’t make any internal complaint of discrimination, you want to emphasize that fact by explaining the company’s procedures for making the employee aware of your internal complaint procedures. You know, you’ve got a policy on harassment. You’ve got a policy on investigation. Let the EEOC know that you hand out employee handbooks to new employees.

If the complainant received a handbook, signed a handbook acknowledgment, you’ll want to tell the EEOC. This is setting – putting your best foot forward and saying, look, we don’t know how many times we can say this, but we’re doing everything in good faith. We’ve got policies. We have people acknowledge that they received handbooks. If fact, the complainant himself signed a receipt for the handbook.

That sort of thing is especially important when you’re dealing with a EEOC charge, because if a complainant failed to complain and failed to exhaust the company’s internal policies and procedures for reporting a claim of harassment, that can be a key factor for the company in avoiding liability.

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