The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. If an individual believes they have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace, they can file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Once a charge is filed, it will initiate the EEOC investigation process to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred.
Step-By-Step EEOC Investigation Process
The EEOC investigation process can be a complex and time-consuming process. The following is a step-by-step overview of what you can expect after mediating a charge of discrimination with the EEOC:
- Assignment of an investigator: If mediation is not successful, or if the parties do not agree to participate in mediation, the EEOC will assign an investigator to the case. The investigator will review the charge and any supporting documents and may conduct interviews with the parties and any relevant witnesses.
- Request for information: During the investigation, the investigator may request additional information from the parties, such as personnel records or other relevant documents. The parties are required to cooperate with the investigator and provide any information that is requested.
- Site visits and interviews: The investigator may also conduct site visits to the workplace and may interview supervisors, managers, and other employees who may have relevant information.
- Determination of reasonable cause: After completing the investigation, the investigator will determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred. If there is reasonable cause, the EEOC will attempt to resolve the dispute through a process called conciliation. If conciliation is unsuccessful, the EEOC may file a lawsuit on behalf of the aggrieved party.
- No reasonable cause determination: If the investigator determines that there is no reasonable cause to believe that discrimination has occurred, the EEOC will issue a notice of right to sue. This means that the individual who filed the charge may pursue the matter in court if they choose to do so.
Length of the EEOC Investigation Process
It is important to note that the EEOC investigation process can take several months or even years to complete. The length of the investigation will depend on the complexity of the case and the workload of the EEOC.
In conclusion, the EEOC investigation process is a critical component of enforcing federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination. If you believe that you have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace or if you have received a charge of discrimination, it is important to understand the investigative process that follows. You should contact an experienced employment attorney who can aid you in understanding your rights and options and can help you navigate this process with confidence.