The EEOC investigation will use this a secondary investigation tool
These don’t happen all that often in EEOC complaints. Sometimes, they opt to hold this fact-finding conference as part of the EEOC complaint investigation. The EEOC Technical Assistance Manual tells us that the fact-finding conference is “an investigative forum intended to further define the issues, determine what is undisputed, clarify disputed issues, and determine what other evidence is needed.”
So, it’s when they’re really trying to figure out, “Okay, what’s going on here?” Sometimes they’ll use them to facilitate settlement discussions following the EEOC complaint investigation. It’s not an adversarial proceeding. It’s an informal investigative forum. The EEOC will take notes during the conference. Attorneys can be present but they’re not permitted to testify for their clients nor are they permitted to ask questions.
The fact finding conference
In the event that the EEOC complaint investigator chooses to hold the fact-finding conference, you want to make certain that all the employees who are attending or participating in the conference understand their roles.
The investigator is generally the only one who asks questions, you should consider having counsel submit in advance a list of questions to be asked of the witnesses so that you’re getting facts down that you actually want.
Review your position statement before a fact-finding conference to determine whether any additional information needs be submitted or if you for some reason haven’t yet submitted a position statement, you might want to file a statement in advance of the conference if that would helpful to the EEOC.
Edited remarks from the Rapid Learning Institute webinar: “In EEOC’s Crosshairs? How to Prepare an Airtight Response and Avoid Costly Payouts” by Alyssa T. Senzel on February 04, 2009
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