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Defending Employers Against EEOC Claims

For Texas business owners, investigations by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) can be time consuming and could lead to litigation. An experienced attorney can help.
 
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    HOUSTON, TX, January 22, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- An investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is not something a business should take lightly. EEOC charges can be time-consuming and, in some cases, lead to lawsuits in federal district court.

If you are an employer, you can take steps to reduce the chances of an EEOC investigation and to effectively deal with an investigation or claim if one occurs. By working with an experienced business and administrative law attorney as soon as you realize your business has a potential problem, you can reduce the chance of a complaint being filed with the EEOC and protect your business if a complaint is filed and during any related litigation.

About The EEOC

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces federal laws against workplace discrimination due to race, color, national origin, religion, disability and other characteristics. These laws apply to:

- Unfair treatment
- Harassment by co-workers, supervisors and others in the workplace
- Denial of reasonable accommodations for disabilities or religious needs
- Retaliation for complaining about job discrimination or assisting with a job discrimination investigation

Employees who believe they have been discriminated against may file a claim with the EEOC, which must then investigate and determine whether there is reason to believe that discrimination occurred. If an employee has filed a discrimination charge that the EEOC will investigate, your business will receive notice within 10 days. Employees may also file discrimination complaints with the Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission.

Protecting Your Business During An EEOC Investigation

The best way to protect your business is to take steps to prevent an EEOC investigation in the first place. If you hear of a potential problem at your business, consider bringing in an attorney who has worked with EEOC investigations and other employment and business law matters. An experienced lawyer will begin work immediately to help you establish a defense and find ways to resolve problems in the early stages.

If a complaint is filed against your company or an investigation commenced, you will be in a better position to respond appropriately to the investigation and obtain a better outcome for your company if you work with an attorney. A lawyer can help by being present throughout your dealings with the EEOC. Legal counsel should assist with written communications and be present for in-person meetings, including:

- Statements of position: A statement of position is the employer's chance to explain the situation.
- Requests for information: The EEOC may ask for copies of policies, personnel files and other information.
- Witness interviews: The EEOC may wish to interview employees as part of its investigation.
- On-site visits: On-site visits may be scheduled to review documents and gather other information.

If your business is being investigated by the EEOC, your response to the investigation will shape the outcome. Having an attorney advise you on responses to the investigation and be present during witness interviews and site visits will help protect your interests. Do not wait to hire an attorney. Bringing counsel in as soon as you know of a problem will benefit you at each stage of an investigation and during resolution of the charges.

Resolving EEOC Charges

The EEOC says that investigations take an average of 182 days to complete. Afterward, the EEOC may:
- Dismiss the claim if it finds no grounds that discrimination occurred. The employee will receive a notice of the dismissal and will have the right to file a lawsuit in federal court within 90 days.
- Issue a Letter of Determination if it believes discrimination occurred. The EEOC will invite the parties to take part in conciliation.
- If conciliation fails, the EEOC could file a lawsuit in federal court or it could give the employee a notice of right to sue.

For an employer, the EEOC's decision-making process means that the end of an investigation does not necessarily mean the end of the discrimination claim. Even if the EEOC does not find grounds that discrimination has occurred, an employee may still file a claim in federal district court.

Contact An Experienced Attorney

If you suspect that your business could be subject to an EEOC complaint, consult with an experienced attorney right away. A knowledgeable attorney can help protect your business during the EEOC investigation and can represent you if the case is litigated in court.

The attorneys at Kerr, Hendershot & Cannon, P.C., provide legal advice and representation to businesses in Houston and throughout Texas. To learn more about the firm, visit www.k-hpc.com.



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