John A. Klassen, PA Minnesota Employment Law Attorney
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How does the EEOC process claims of workplace discrimination?

Our last post covered the protections the Minnesota Human Rights Act provides workers against discrimination. As discussed, a worker can choose whether to file a claim with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Today we are going to explore what happens after a worker files a claim with the EEOC.

First of all, the EEOC will provide the worker with a copy of the worker's charge, along with the corresponding charge number. The worker's employer will also be given this information, within 10 days. After that, the EEOC will take one of three actions.

One action the EEOC may take is to ask both the worker and the employer to participate in a mediation program. A second action the EEOC may take is to ask the worker's employer to answer the charge in writing. The charge will then be handed over to an investigator. Finally, the third action the EEOC may take is to dismiss the charge. This will be done if it was not timely filed or if the EEOC lacks jurisdiction.

If the EEOC does determine that an investigation is necessary, it will interview witnesses and collect the relevant documentation. After the investigation is through, the worker and employer will be notified of the results of the investigation. If the EEOC determines that a discriminatory act in fact did not take place, the worker will be provided with a "Notice of Right to Sue," which allows the worker to pursue a lawsuit in federal court.

If the EEOC determines that the discriminatory act did in fact take place, they will attempt to settle the matter voluntarily with the employer. If a settlement is not possible, the worker's case will go to the agency's legal staff, who will determine whether a lawsuit should be filed by the EEOC. If the agency decides not to go through with a lawsuit, as discussed earlier, the worker will be provided with a "Notice of Right to Sue," and can pursue his or her own lawsuit in federal court.

As this shows, there are legal options available to workers who believe they were unlawfully discriminated against. No worker should be forced to put up with workplace discrimination. Therefore, it is important that they exercise their rights against such acts. Those who have more questions about filing a claim with the EEOC may want to discuss their situation with an attorney.

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