If the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives an employment discrimination complaint from an employee at your business, how should you respond? It is important to know how to respond to such a complaint, and to understand the necessary steps to take to protect your business and remain in compliance with state and/or federal law. The TWC provides details for businesses and employers on how to respond to employment discrimination complaints made to the agency, and our Frisco employment law attorneys can provide you with more information.
Understand Why an Employment Discrimination Complaint May be Filed
As an employer in Texas, it is important to understand the kinds of situations and circumstances in which an employee may face discrimination, and what responsibilities the employer has to prevent certain kinds of workplace discrimination. Common types of employment discrimination claims include
- Racial discrimination.
- Sex discrimination, including sexual harassment.
- Pregnancy discrimination.
- Discrimination on the basis of an employee’s religion.
- Disability discrimination.
There are many other types of employment discrimination that are unlawful in Texas, as well. Employers have a duty to address discrimination when an employee reports it, and failure to do so can result in employer liability.
Consider Mediation to Resolve the Complaint
When an employment discrimination complaint is made to the TWC or the EEOC, mediation is offered to the parties. Typically, you must either accept or decline the opportunity to resolve the discrimination complaint through mediation within 14 days from the date that the TWC or EEOC provides you with an invitation to mediate. Unless you retain an attorney to represent you at mediation, the mediation process offered by the TWC and the EEOC is completely free to the employer. It is also non-binding, which means the mediator cannot force you to settle the complaint, nor can the mediator dictate any potential settlement amount.
Cooperate During the Investigation
At all stages of the employment discrimination investigation process, you should cooperate with the investigator. You will need to provide accurate information to the investigator, including supporting materials and documentation. Best practices in this case are to retain the services of an experienced employment law attorney when you learn an employee has filed a discrimination complaint. Your employment lawyer can help ensure that you are doing everything possible to protect your business while remaining in compliance with Texas law.
Submit a Position Statement and Supporting Documents
Employers typically must submit a “Position Statement” and must comply with all requests for information. The position statement requires your business to supply objective information including relevant names, addresses, and a copy of your employment policies and discrimination procedures, as well as statements from parties involved in the case. Other types of information may be requested as well.
Do Not Retaliate Against the Complainant or Any Employee Involved in the Investigation
During any employment discrimination investigation, you should not take any actions that could be perceived as retaliation by the employee who submitted the complaint or any other employee who is participating in the discrimination case.
Contact a Frisco Employment Lawyer Today
Employment law issues are complex and must be handled carefully. Often, working with an employment attorney is the best way to navigate these waters. For help responding to a current discrimination complaint or assistance creating workplace policy to prevent future problems in this area, see an experienced Frisco employment law attorney at our firm. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC for more information.