Proper planning will arrest the impact of the EEOC investigation
Prior to any EEOC investigation, the company should definitely ask in writing that the EEOC itemize all documents that it would like to review and identify all witnesses. Doing this is going to allow you an opportunity to prepare the necessary information in advance, to meet with the witnesses to explain the process and just generally to be ready.
EEOC compliance posters
And one additional thing to remember, if they are going to come onsite, you want to ensure that all required EEO, DOL, state postings are properly updated and displayed prior to the onsite visit. You want everything just as it should be.
What else could happen because of the EEOC investigation onsite?
Well, sometimes the EEOC opts to hold a fact-finding conference.
Now, 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.”
The fact-finding conference and EEOC investigation
So essentially, it could be held to facilitate fact gathering. They could push to have a fact-finding conference to try and facilitate settlement. This is an informal investigative forum. It is not an adversarial proceeding.
The EEOC will take notes at this fact-finding conference. Attorneys are permitted to be there but they are not permitted to testify for clients or ask any questions.
So, in the event that the EEOC investigator does want to conduct a fact-finding conference, you should make certain that all the employees who are attending or participating in the conference understand their roles, why they’re being called there, what they’re being called to talk about, et cetera.
Questions in the conference
EEOC investigator is generally the only one who asks questions, the company should consider having its counsel submit in advance a list of questions for the EEOC to ask the witnesses. Then, that’s great. You’ll get additional information. That will make their investigation better. And submitting it in advance makes things go more smoothly.
And finally, prepare your witnesses just as you would for a deposition or to testify in court. They should be ready. They should know what to expect and how to answer questions.
The general goal in dealing with an onsite EEOC investigation is to prevent them from going on a fishing expedition.
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