Employees awaiting the go-ahead from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to sue their employers over allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation will soon hear from the agency on next steps.
The EEOC resumed issuing charge closure documents effective Monday, August 3, 2020, an action the agency paused in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Charge closure documents indicate that the agency has completed reviewing an employee’s allegations, and explain what they can do next.
When the EEOC concludes a probe of allegedly unlawful behavior, it can issue a number of notices to potential claimants that start a countdown for when they can file suits. One such document, known as a right-to-sue notice, is generally issued when the EEOC finds reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred but was unable to resolve the charge as part of the pre-suit conciliation process and doesn’t sue the employer on its own. It gives the aggrieved worker 90 days to file suit.
At the end of an investigation, the EEOC can also issue a so-called dismissal and notice of rights if it is unable to determine whether there is reasonable cause to believe that unlawful conduct took place. That also gives workers permission to file a federal court suit within 90 days.
In its August 3 announcement, the EEOC acknowledged that a continued delay could negatively affect both parties’ ability to protect and exercise their rights. The EEOC will issue delayed notices of rights to sue over the next six-to-eight weeks, beginning with those that have been in suspense the longest. The timing for completing work on issuing suspended notices of rights to sue corresponds with the EEOC’s fiscal year, which ends on September 30, 2020. These notices of rights to sue will be sent by U.S. Mail.
Some implications from this announcement:
If you have any questions on how this may affect you, please contact: