Whether it comes from California’s Labor Commissioner’s Office or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), getting a notice that there’s been a discrimination charge leveled against your company can come as a nasty shock.
So, what do you do now? First, you need to understand that is not a notice finding that the company has discriminated against an employee. It simply means that a charge has been filed and that an administrative investigation is pending.
Consider your options carefully
You will likely have three options moving forward: You can ignore the notice entirely (which is not recommended), mediate with the charging party or submit a written response that states your position.
Again, ignoring the notice is not recommended as it will not stop the process, and you deprive yourself of any meaningful chance to present a defense to the claim.
Mediation might be acceptable depending on the circumstances.
The best option is typically to respond with a position statement that gives a robust denial of the charges. This is your chance to show the EEOC or other charging agency exactly why they should find in your favor. With that in mind:
- Be clear, direct and factual. If there are facts that tend to be unfavorable to your position, do not ignore them. Instead, present them as part of a larger picture of events so that the agency can see the situation in context.
- Provide any relevant documentation you may have about the situation, including records related to the charging party’s employment. This may include performance reviews and write-ups.
- Explain your company’s non-discrimination policies and efforts so that it’s clear that your company is proactive about the issue.
Finally, this is not a situation that you should handle on your own. Take the necessary legal steps to protect your business, your reputation and your future.