I just read an article on a recent change to how reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are reported. Alyssa Peters’s of article “An EEOC Charge Has Been Filed Against Your Company. What Now?” in judsupra.com reports the EEOC launched an online inquiry form.
The online system is still in testing and only available in Charlotte, Chicago, New Orleans, Phoenix, and Seattle. Currently, the EEOC receives over 585,000 calls a year. The goal of the online system is to make the EEOC more accessible to the public according to EEOC Acting Chair, Victoria Lipnic.
Greater public access to file EEOC charges gives employers good motive on how to respond when a charge is received. Peters offers the following tips for companies:
- Don’t ignore the charge: Whether the charge reaches the desk of the registered agent or receptionist, don’t let charge go unheeded. Enter the response deadline in the calendar system, then visit the EEOC web portal and enter the contact information of the appropriate company representative. Doing so ensures the EEOC communicates with the right person.
- Contact your insurance company: If your company has Employment Practices Liability Insurance, expenses incurred in responding to the charge may be covered or counted toward the deductible. Contact your broker if you’re unsure if you have EPLI. Don’t skip this crucial step in case the charge turns into a lawsuit.
- Contact your attorney: Promptly notify your employment attorney of the charge if the company has one; seriously consider retaining one.
- Gather all of your information and documents: Along with paper documentation, emails, text messages, and relevant social media sites should also be preserved. An IT department can best advise on how to retrieve deleted social media and how to deactivate default destruction settings while charges are pending.
- Decide whether to mediate: The EEOC does has a good mediation program that is free to both parties. Using the program can often result in resolution of the charge before the costs and hostilities escalate. There are pros and cons to mediation, as opposed to submitting a response to the charge and awaiting an EEOC determination.
Peters concludes her article by stating being knowledgeable about best first steps will help ease the pain of a charge.
Companies do have proactive measures before charges are filed or a situation escalates to lengthy and costly litigation; one such proactive tool is a hotline. Red Flag Reporting’s mission is to provide a simple yet highly effective ethics hotline, safety hotline, fraud hotline and whistleblower hotline. Red Flag Reporting helps protect your organization’s employees, goodwill, and bottom line.