In the bad old days, after an employee filed a Charge of Discrimination, employers would file a position statement and then one of two things happened: either the investigator would read a summary of the position statement quickly over the phone, or the investigator would write up a summary of the position statement. Then the employee would have 10 days to respond.
I say the bad old days, because this process really didn't give the employee a full opportunity to understand the employer's response or fully respond.
That all changed when EEOC implemented new Position Statement Procedures on January 1, 2016, entitling employees to a copy of the position statement if they request it. They also gave employees 20 days to respond to the position statement once received. This was way better, because employees had a full opportunity to read and understand what their employer was saying, and then fully respond to and rebut the position statement.
Even at its worst, EEOC gave employees at least some opportunity to respond. At its best, it gave employees a truly full and fair chance to respond.
But not anymore. I have had several cases recently where EEOC got the position statement and then dismissed the charge without giving the employee any chance to respond at all or even tell them they had received it.
When I asked EEOC's General Counsel to look into this, he referred me to the Director, who did not respond to my query at all. When I followed up because it happened again, the Director decided to insult me personally and tell me to take it up with NELA (the National Employment Lawyers Association) and Congress. So I think I will.
I have already directed my concerns about this utter lack of due process for employees to NELA. If you think this new process is terrible and doesn't comply with EEOC's mission to conduct a full investigation of charges of discrimination, contact your member of Congress and tell them you think EEOC should allow employees an opportunity to respond to employer's position statements so that they may conduct a full investigation.
By the way, this isn't the only anti-employee activity EEOC has engaged in since the change in presidential administrations. They have also engaged in dismissing cases immediately upon filing without any investigation (I've seen this happen personally), and I have heard multiple stories of them telling people they don't have a case and refusing to even take their charge (this is particularly awful because filing with EEOC is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit, and employees have a very short time period to file).
People come to EEOC because they need help, because they think their employer engaged in unlawful discrimination. They also come to EEOC because they are legally required to do so if they even want to think about filing a lawsuit. So why has EEOC suddenly decided that its mission is to only help employers and not employees? Has EEOC been given a new mission to try to discourage or prevent employees from exercising their legal rights?
I think some more investigation is warranted.
Have a general question about employment law? Want to share a story? I welcome all comments and questions. I can't give legal advice here about specific situations but will be glad to discuss general issues and try to point you in the right direction. If you need legal advice, contact an employment lawyer in your state. Remember, anything you post here will be seen publicly, and I will comment publicly on it. It will not be confidential. Govern yourself accordingly. If you want to communicate with me confidentially as Donna Ballman, Florida lawyer rather than as Donna Ballman, blogger, my firm's website is here.