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Must we make employees available to EEOC investigators?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Q. A former employee recently filed an EEOC complaint against our company alleging race discrimination. As part of its investigation, the agency will be coming to our offices to interview employees. Do I have to make the employees available? As the HR director, should I sit in on the employee interviews?

A.  An employer must make its employees available if the EEOC asks to meet with certain individuals.

If you have a strong objection to the EEOC interviewing a particular employee, you can raise your concerns. Typically, that won’t change the investigator’s mind.

An investigator is allowed to conduct interviews of nonmanagement employees without your presence or permission. For interviews with management employees, an attorney may be present. If you have either in-house counsel or an outside attorney, have them attend the meeting.

If you don’t have an attorney, it is a good idea for an HR representative to sit in on the interviews.

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