Usually, the EEOC leaves litigation to employees and their attorneys. But when the EEOC decides to take the lead, chances are it believes the case is worth fighting for—tooth and nail. When that happens, employers can expect to spend a bundle defending themselves.
Fortunately, federal judges will level that playing field if they believe the EEOC didn’t play fair.
Recent case: When the EEOC sued Dollar General, alleging that harassment caused severe stress for some female employees, the retailer asked for medical records. The EEOC resisted, believing Dollar General was trying to intimidate the women. The agency withheld some of the documents based on its own assessment that they were irrelevant.
The judge disagreed—and then ordered the EEOC to pay half of Dollar General’s costs, including attorneys’ fees. (EEOC v. Dollar General, No. 1:09-CV-700, MD NC, 2011)