How does the EEOC process work?

Q. My company just received notice that an employee filed a discrimination charge against us with the EEOC. What happens now?

A. The EEOC will conduct an investigation of the charge to determine whether it has merit. If you choose, it will attempt to resolve the charge via mediation.

During the investigation you will be required to submit a written statement of position, and may also be asked to turn over documents and other information, allow an on-site visit and make witnesses available for interviews.

The first thing you should do, though, is retain an attorney to represent you in your dealings with the EEOC. You should assume that every charge—no matter the merit—will turn into a lawsuit.

Employment attorneys can interview witnesses, review policies and personnel files and offer advice about the best way for you to defend yourself.

Failing to involve an attorney as soon as you receive a charge of discrimination can cost valuable insight into your best effort to win the case. Your attorney can help you limit the information you must disclose and assist in crafting the statement of position, which will be discoverable and possibly admissible in any later lawsuit.