If you receive notice that an employee has filed a claim through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you do need to think about how you’re going to defend your business. Even though this might be shocking, you have limited time to think of how to handle the case.
Employers are expected to respond to complaints filed with the EEOC, but they need to do so carefully to protect themselves. How can you make sure you are as protective of your business as possible while still addressing the issue?
- Get to know what really happened
When you get the EEOC’s charge, it will say what you’re being accused of. It may not go into the details or give you much additional information to review.
Take the time to talk to others who were present or who are aware of the circumstances. Learn as much as possible before responding to the EEOC’s allegations.
For example, if an employee claims you fired them due to their race, it would be beneficial to show the write-ups or errors they had made leading up to their dismissal. Demonstrating a legitimate reason for their termination helps you protect your company.
- Show consistency
Another thing to do is to show that you are consistent. Show other situations where you’ve had to terminate someone’s employment, for example, and how these two cases were handled the same. Consistency in your past decisions shows that you treat everyone the same.
- Be prompt, but know your rights
Finally, be prompt with your response to the EEOC, so the Commission knows that you’re being respectful and cooperative. At the same time, you do need to know your legal rights before you respond, and you may want to have your attorney review your response to make sure it makes sense, is thorough and doesn’t affirm anything the other party is claiming.
These are a few things you can do to defend against an EEOC claim. It’s a terrible feeling to know that someone felt singled out while working for you, but it is reasonable to defend your company if you terminated their role or treated them in a way that was completely legal.