What is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission? (EEOC)

November 29, 2018

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing nearly all employment discrimination laws in the United States. It is vitally important for any employee who is encountering issues in the workplace to familiarize themselves with the EEOC and their processes. The EEOC has a substantial impact on the way employment and labor laws are interpreted throughout the country and is an important tool for employees in the workplace.

Why Was the EEOC Formed?

“The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to discriminate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.” (See: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/)

The EEOC was created in 1964 as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was formed has a safeguard for members of protected groups. The legislation protected individuals of these groups and sought to have the live free of discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age and disability. It was a landmark legislation that changed the scene for groups who were historically discriminated against.

The purpose of the EEOC then and now is to ensure those protections they were created upon the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

How Does the EEOC Investigation Process Work?

The EEOC becomes involved in a work matter once an employee or perspective files an administrative charge with the agency. Generally, the complainant has 180 days from the last incident to file an administrative claim with the EEOC. Once the complainant contacts the EEOC, they will undergo an intake process in which they will answer some initial questions and discuss the nature and facts of the case. The EEOC officers will use this intake process to analyze the merits of the complaint and determine the next steps in the investigation process. It is vitally important for complainants to be thoroughly detailed during the intake phase.

Upon completion of the intake process, the EEOC will begin their investigation into the matter. During the investigation process the EEOC is likely to contact the employer. Further, EEOC officers may conduct site visits to the workplace and conduct witness interviews. During this phase of the investigation, the EEOC is seeking to gather facts and information regarding the allegations. The

An EEOC investigation can be a lengthy process depending on the complexity of the respective case. Generally, the average EEOC investigation can take around 10 months. The length of an EEOC investigation depends on the complexity of the investigation, the size of the employer and the parties’ willingness to be cooperative in the investigation.

Once the investigation is completed, if the EEOC determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that the employee is being subjected to  harassment and/or discrimination in the workplace, they will provide the employee with a right to sue notice. At this point, the employee is legally permitted to pursue a lawsuit against their employer and seek damages for discrimination or harassment.

If an employee feels that they are being subjected to any form of harassment or discrimination on the basis of their race, gender, color, religion, sex(including pregnancy), ethnicity, age or disability in the workplace then they should consult with an attorney who is experienced in labor law immediately. The EEOC charge filing is complex, with many specifics. There are strict regulations governing the process for filing an administrative claim. Furthermore, there are strict time restrictions, known as statute of limitations, as to when a EEOC charge and separate lawsuit can be filed. The experienced attorneys at Shegerian Conniff are ready to hold your employer accountable, fight for your legal rights, and seek justice.  Click here to contact us today or call us at 310-322-7500 for a free consultation.