EEOC Charge Basics
Posted at Arkansas Employment Law by M. McClure on 05/02/2009
us-eeoc-logoAn EEOC charge is administrative device though which the federal government investigates employee complaints of discrimination.  Receiving a charge seems like a big deal, but very often, it’s not.  In fact, the EEOC found evidence of discrimination or “reasonable cause” in only 4.6% of cases in 2008. EEOC.gov.  Those are pretty good odds for employers.

In Arkansas, an employee has 180 days from the alleged act of discrimination to file a charge with the EEOC.  The EEOC then asks the employer to respond to the charge, generally within 30 days, although the Little Rock office will often grant a two-week extension.  You can find a thorough explanation of the EEOC charge process at the EEOC website.

Most employers hire an attorney to investigate the charge and draft a response.  Some employers write the response in-house, particularly if the company has a human resource manager with some legal training.  The Employment Law Alliance has a great overview for drafting a charge response along with a sample response at Employment Law Alliance.

EEOC charges can also provide insight into a management issue or process problem that had not been apparent to the business owner.  Take the time to look for the underlying cause of the charge.  Is there a leadership issue that should be addressed?  Are there morale problems that need attention?  Are there policies or practices that should be updated?   By looking at the underlying cause of the charge, you may be able to prevent additional charges and improve your workplace.