About the EEOC

The EEOC and You

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1964 to eliminate discrimination in workplaces across America. The EEOC was created through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and since its inception, the EEOC has steadily grown into a leading enforcement agency in the area of workplace discrimination. The EEOC investigates discriminatory acts on the basis of the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National Origin
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Retaliation

The EEOC notes that women, African-Americans, and immigrants and their descendants are considered by the EEOC to be the most vulnerable workers in America.

For over 40 years, the EEOC has obtained relief for millions of victims of discrimination, and has influenced the decisions of the Supreme Court and the lower courts through its interpretations of the anti discrimination laws. The EEOC is authorized to receive, initiate and investigate charges of discrimination filed against employers who have a statutory minimum number of employees.(1) The EEOC makes all efforts to fairly investigate and accurately evaluate charges in light of all the evidence obtained.

If you believe that your employment rights have been violated, you may file a charge with the EEOC. Charges themselves can be mailed or filed in person by yourself, or on your behalf. YOU MUST FILE A CHARGE WITH THE EEOC BEFORE COMMENCING A PRIVATE LAWSUIT IN COURT unless you’re charging a violation of the Equal Pay Act. YOU MUST ALSO FILE A CHARGE WITHIN A PRESCRIBED TIME FRAME WHICH RUNS FROM THE ACT OF DISCRIMINATION, OR FROM THE LAST ACT OF A CONTINUOUS VIOLATION.(2)

Job Discrimination Statistics

Here are some notable statistics from the EEOC:

  • The EEOC’s receipt of charges of race discrimination has increased every single decade since the passage of Title VII.
  • Sexual harassment charges tripled during the 1990s and continue to rise.
  • Charges of retaliation made up approximately 20 percent of all EEOC charges in the 1990s.
  • In 2005, the EEOC received 75,428 charges of discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, retaliation and the Equal Pay Act. In fact that number is the lowest amount received by the EEOC within the past 10 years of service.
  • The monetary benefits derived from EEOC charges exceeded $271.6 million last year.

What remedies exist through the EEOC and Title VII?

Title VII provides for various types of relief to an employee who suffers from workplace discrimination. Generally, this relief breaks down into two categories of recovery: monetary and non-monetary. We have identified some of the specific relief an employee can seek and obtain through the filing of a charge with the EEOC:

MONETARY DAMAGES:

  • Back pay: Back pay is a monetary award for lost wages resulting from termination, demotion, lost raise/bonus or lost benefits.
  • Front pay: Front pay damages are awarded in certain cases where an employee may be entitled to lost future earnings resulting from discrimination.
  • Emotional damages: These are damages awarded to an employee who suffers from mental anguish, pain and suffering resulting from discrimination in the workplace.
  • Punitive damages: These damages are awarded to an employee when the circumstances surrounding their claims of discrimination involve an egregious act, or a series of egregious acts, by an employer against an employee. In essence, these damages serve to punish the employer for their malicious and harmful acts against an employee.
  • Attorneys’ fees: Title VII also awards the payment of attorney’s fees for an employee who prevails in their claims of discrimination. Such an award may reduce and even relieve an employee from the payment of attorney’s fees to their hired attorney.

NON MONETARY DAMAGES

  • Reinstatement to employment or a particular job position
  • The administering of sensitivity and diversity training for the employer
  • Job advancement for those who were denied promotions because of an employer’s discriminatory practices
  • Adjustments to salary
  • EEOC monitoring of workplace complaints of discrimination
  • Transfers within the workplace
  • On-the-job training designed to advance and better an employee

What is the process for filing with the EEOC?

If the matter is not resolved through EEOC mediation, the claim will advance to the EEOC’s investigatory/enforcement division. At this stage, an investigator will be assigned to the charge. The investigator will require the employer to submit a written position statement responsive to the employee’s charge. The investigator can then request that the employee submit a rebuttal to the defenses asserted by the employer, and they can require either or both sides to produce certain documentation or witnesses relevant to their investigation. With respect to witnesses, the EEOC can and will protect the identity of witnesses during the investigatory phase. The EEOC will interview a witness and will assure them that their identity will not be provided to the employer as part of the investigation.

The EEOC also has the right to request various documents from the employer that may verify the allegations brought by the employee, or the defenses raised by the employer. The EEOC also has the right to conduct an on-site visit to the workplace in question. This is often utilized to interview various employees or managers in the workplace, or to make a visual assessment of the workplace.

Upon completion of their investigation, the EEOC will then render a determination as to whether there is “reasonable cause” to believe discrimination has occurred. The decision by the EEOC is not binding upon either party. If “reasonable cause” is found, the EEOC will again attempt to resolve the dispute. If it is not resolved, the EEOC can commence a lawsuit of its own against the employer, allow the employee to bring suit, or both can happen. If the EEOC does not find discrimination at this level, they will allow the employee the right to bring a lawsuit based on the claims to determine whether the employer has in fact discriminated against the employee. Many times, employees prevail in a lawsuit despite the EEOC’s failure to find discrimination. This is primarily related to the limited resources of the EEOC during the investigatory phase. In fact, when the EEOC issues a finding of no discrimination, it explicitly states that such a finding DOES NOT mean the employer is in compliance with anti-discrimination laws.

Leeds Brown Law, PC routinely commences lawsuits relating to charges that were dismissed by the EEOC. Moreover, our team has an excellent track record of resolving cases during litigation, or prevailing at trial before a jury. Based on the specific circumstances surrounding the dismissal from the EEOC, a Leeds Brown Law, PC representative will inform you of the viability of your case and of all your rights and remedies available to you beyond the EEOC.

Of the tens of thousands of cases filed with the EEOC every year, very few lead to “reasonable cause” findings, and even fewer lead to lawsuits filed by the EEOC.

Leeds Brown Law, PC has a proven track record of filing charges that lead not only to “reasonable cause” findings, but also to litigation brought by the EEOC. In fact, Leeds Brown Law, PC, has worked in conjunction with the EEOC in helping to eradicate discrimination in the workplace.

Contact Leeds Brown Law, PC 1-888-5-JOBLAW

1 – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1967 apply to employers with 15 or more employees. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) requires a minimum number of 20 employees and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) applies to most employers with at least one employee.

2 – Depending on the jurisdiction and type of claim, an EEOC charge of discrimination must be filed within either 180 or 300 days from the date of the alleged violation.

 

New York Employment Law Attorneys Leeds Brown Law, PC offer high quality legal services and representation to clients throughout the five boroughs of Manhattan, including Wall Street, Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island; and throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, including the Northshore, the Southshore, and cities such as Garden City, Carle Place, Hempstead, Mineola, Melville, Westbury, Hicksville, Levittown, Freeport, Massapequa, Valley Stream, Long Beach, Glen Cove, Syosset, Huntington, Bayside, Forest Hills, Manhasset, Whitestone, Commack, Brentwood and Riverhead, New York. Leeds Brown Law also extends its practice throughout all the counties of Nassau and Suffolk County, which includes the East end of Long Island, as well as to The Hamptons.