What are the steps involved in the filing and processing of an employment
What are the steps involved in the filing and processing of an employment discrimination claim by the EEOC?
This is some of the text for reference –
The law covers what it covers and no more. In order to have a valid claim under Title VII, the employee or applicant must be able to show that he or she has been discriminated against on one of the bases in the law. If the employee cannot show this, then there is no basis for a Title VII claim. That is why in Opening Scenario 3, Rinson has no cause of action. There is no indication that the reason for the supervisor treating Rinson poorly has anything to do with any of Title VII’s prohibited classes of race, color, gender, religion, or national origin.
Filing Claims under Title VII
Nonfederal employees who believe they have experienced employment discrimination may file a charge or claim with the EEOC. An employee filing such a claim is called a claimant or a charging party. Employers should be aware that it costs an employee only time and energy to go to the nearest EEOC office and file a claim. By law, the EEOC must in some way handle every claim it receives. To discourage claims and ensure the best defense when they arise, employers should ensure that their policies and procedures are legal, fair, and consistently applied.
claimant or charging party
The person who brings an action alleging violation of Title VII.
However, just because filing with the EEOC is free does not mean that every employee who thinks he or she has a claim is making a beeline to the EEOC office. Filing a claim against an employer is a serious matter. Most employees work because they must in order to finance their lives. Doing anything to interfere with that is a shaky business. There are far more people who have legitimate claims who choose not to pursue them than those who do so, or who do so for questionable reasons. You, yourself, may have had a basis for a claim and just let it go, perhaps thinking it wasn’t worth the hassle and you had other pressing matters to deal with such as school. There are many reasons employees may choose not to pursue a claim:
• They may not know their rights under the law.
• They may be afraid.
• They may fear retaliation.
• They may feel it is easier to just go along or to find another job.
• They may have valued friendships they wish to maintain.
• They may feel the process takes too long and feels too uncertain.
• They may fear the emotional cost of the proceedings.
• They may not wish to risk the ire of their fellow employees.
• They may find it too uncomfortable to work in the workplace where they have filed claims against the employer.
• They may think things will get better on their own.
• The job market may make their present situation seem like the best choice under the circumstances.
• They may not want to put their families at risk.
Keep in mind that even with the best case in the world, there are no guarantees. A claim can drag on for years, and during that time the claimant, who may have been terminated in violation of Title VII, must still eat. He or she must obtain other employment and, by the time the case is finished, may have moved on with his or her life. As we write this, the U.S. Supreme Court this week heard oral arguments in a case against Wal-Mart21 that has already been going on for 10 years. The decision for the Court is not even about the substantive issue of whether Wal-Mart engaged in gender discrimination against its female employees, but rather whether it was correct for the trial court and court of appeals to allow the employees to be certified as a class for bringing the lawsuit. Ten years and the case has not even been heard on the merits yet. So, while it is easy for employers to sue, the bigger concern is the ones who have legitimate cases that were easily avoided by good workplace practices.
Regarding the ease of bringing EEO claims, there is good news and bad news for employers. The good news is that the vast majority of charges are sifted out of the system for one reason or another. For instance, in fiscal year 2010, of the 99,922 charges filed with the EEOC, 9.3 percent were settled, 16.5 percent had administrative closures (failure of the claimant to pursue the claim, loss of contact with the claimant, etc.), 64.3 percent resulted in findings of no reasonable cause, and reasonable cause was found in only 4.7 percent of the charges. Conciliation was successful in only 1.3 percent of the cases, and unsuccessful in 13 percent.22
The bad news is that the EEOC’s success rate in litigation has been at least 90 percent for years. In fiscal year 2010, the EEOC obtained $319.4 million in monetary benefits even though only 14 percent of the charges settled or had a reasonable cause finding. This is the highest level of monetary relief through administrative enforcement in EEOC history.23 There is no doubt that shareholders of companies that had to pay out this money in settlements and judgments believe that the avoidable $319.4 million could have been put to more productive use.
Understanding and implementing effective workplace policies can do that. These are not good numbers for employers facing the EEOC. The best defense is a good offense. Avoiding trouble in the first place lessens the chances of having to deal with the EEOC and therefore the chances of being unsuccessful.
Nonfederal government employee claims must be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory event, except as noted in the next section involving 706 agencies. For federal employees, claims must be filed with their employing agency within 45 days of the event. In a significant U.S. Supreme Court case, National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) v. Morgan,24 these deadlines were made a bit more flexible by the Court for harassment cases. In the Morgan case, the Supreme Court said that since on-the-job harassment is part of a pattern of behavior, if a charge is filed with the EEOC within the statutory period, a jury can consider actions that occurred outside the statutory period. The violation is considered to be a continuing one, so the claimant is not limited to only evidence relating to the specific event resulting in the lawsuit. Note, however, as briefly discussed in the toolkit chapter, that in 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court held that it was not a continuing violation each time an employer issued a paycheck based on gender-based wage discrimination. In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., Inc.,25 discussed in more detail in the gender chapter (Chapter 9), the Court rejected the paycheck accrual rule that would have allowed the employee to restart the statute of limitations each time she was paid. The Court distinguished Morgan by saying the act of wage discrimination was a discrete act rather than a pattern and, thus, did not merit the same treatment as the harassment in the Morgan case. Congress, however, responded by passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 that adopted the paycheck accrual rule. Under that law, the 180-day statute of limitations begins to run all over again each time a paycheck is issued based on pay discrimination. That is why in Opening Scenario 2, Shelly is still able to bring her claim even though it has Scenario been more than 180 days since the event.
The reason for the fairly short statute of limitations in Title VII is an attempt to ensure that the necessary parties and witnesses are still available and that events are not too remote to recollect accurately. Violations of Title VII may also be brought to the EEOC’s attention because of its own investigation or by information
Steps involved in the filing and processing of an employment discrimination claim by the EEOC are:
1. Contact EEO counselor within 45 days of the matter.
2. The EEO counselor will provide information to the aggrieved individual concerning how the federal sector EEOC process works.
3. Counseling must be complete within 30 days.
4. File the matter within 15 days of receipt notice and include address, telephone number etc.
5. Agency must investigate within 180 days of the filing date.