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Be Sure Your Company Properly Responds to All EEOC Complaints

Although no company is ever pleased to learn that an employee has filed an EEOC complaint, it’s important to promptly respond to it in a highly accurate and comprehensive manner. If possible, always have at least one or two designated (and properly trained) employees ready to reply on your behalf.

Hopefully, your company is already in the habit of carefully documenting all significant human resource activities and events. Keep in mind that highly successful companies always document all of their employee evaluations, in-house complaints filed by coworkers and supervisors – and very carefully determine which employees must be laid off.

Once you've received a copy of an EEOC complaint filed against your company, be sure to move forward while bearing in mind the following suggestions.

Specific Ways to Respond

  • Make sure you provide an accurate history of all events leading up to the complaint – and which the complainant specifically referenced. Take the time to locate all relevant documentation to back up your story and attach copies;

  • Carefully review each specific statement made by the complainant. When you find any errors or apparent “misrepresentations” -- be sure to reference each of them and document why you believe they’re untrue. You must avoid using any inflammatory language in your reply. If necessary, ask your Peachtree City business attorney if it's appropriate to add any sworn statements made by the complainant's supervisors or coworkers;

  • Respond promptly. You need to get the truth as your company knows it before the EEOC as soon as you can responsibly reply to the complaint;

  • Provide the EEOC with examples of recent human resource decisions which will show a consistent, non-discriminatory pattern of behavior. This will likely be at odds with statements made by the complainant. Whatever you do, just stick to the truth;

  • Keep all information about me EEOC complaint as confidential as possible. Only discuss this within your company on a “need to know” basis. This is especially important if the employee is still working for you – and/or possibly trying to solicit vocal support from (former) coworkers or supervisors;

  • Explain aspects of your business and the way you conduct regular transactions which may not be readily apparent to the EEOC. This type of information can help shed light on why your company behaved in a certain manner;

  • Obtain legal advice on all issues raised that may be puzzling to you. Also, never assume that you can use a standardized response to any EEOC complaint. The more specific your response is to every aspect of the complaint, the better chances you have of prevailing;

  • Make sure you speak to your insurers. You need to find out what your potential liabilities are and if they're all covered should the complainant prevail against you;

  • Consider gathering together all company documentation related to the complainant (along with all supporting documents) – and carefully lock it all up in the most appropriate location for now -- and in the future.

Whatever you do, make sure all employees continue to interact with the complainant in as civil and pleasant a manner as possible.

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact the Law Offices of Shane Smith today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.


Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia