When a claim is first filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which we refer to as the EEOC, the EEOC will actually appoint a representative to monitor that claim. Typically, the EEOC will do one of three things. One is, unfortunately due to staffing, sometimes the complaint is not focused on for some time, and it ends up that the employee after six months can sue in court without the EEOC doing anything.
More importantly and secondly is their mediation program. Their mediation program has certainly improved after the last five years and what they do is they will contact employers to determine if the employer is interested in what’s called mediation; it’s basically settlement of the claim. They spend a significant amount of time with the parties trying to air grievances and determine a resolution which will prevent an in-court battle which honestly could take up to three years and be expensive from the company’s perspective.
Depending on the particular claim and the allegations that are being made, it’s often recommended that the employer does attend such a mediation to see if in fact such a case could be settled and that risk eliminated. You certainly should have adequate representation by an experienced Orange County Employment Lawyer at such a mediation because the damages that can be sought and the evaluation of the risks of going forward are something they can adequately advise you on before you make that decision.
The third thing I’m just going to mention is sometimes the EEOC will do an investigation rather than mediate the case. In those circumstances, the employer’s required to provide position statements to the EEOC stating what happened with this employee. That is something that should be drafted by an experienced Orange County Employment Lawyer so that things that are said to the EEOC cannot be used later on against you in court should the employees sue.