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Discrimination or Harassment Issues

Discrimination or
Harassment Issues FAQs

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What can employers expect after a discrimination complaint? This will depend on whether you have had a discrimination complaint that was either filed with an agency such as the EEOC — the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission — or through an internal complaint at your company. But the process is generally going to be the same.

We’ll talk about what do you do with a harassment complaint as well. And the answer to that question is also going to be very, very similar to the response to “what do you do with an internal discrimination complaint?”

Let’s talk about what you do and how you treat the internal discrimination complaint. An employee may go out first to the EEOC instead of an internal company HR person.

So you’re sitting there in your office, you check the mail and you’ve got a nasty letter from the EEOC that says you’re being investigated.

You could get one of those letters from three different organizations that receive discrimination or harassment complaints. The EEOC, the Florida Commission on Human Relations, or an employee can file a complaint with any one of those agencies who will then reach out to you the employer.

You could get it from the EEOC: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC

enforces federal laws that make discrimination illegal against job applicants or employees due to:

  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Genetic information
  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy

The EEOC has the right to investigate charges of discrimination or harassment against anyone included in the above legally protected groups.

You might get a letter about discrimination accusations from the Florida Commission on Human Relations. The Florida Commission on Human Relations was created to enforce the Civil Rights Act and investigates cases of alleged discrimination or harassment to ensure everyone has equal employment, housing, and public accommodation opportunities.

Or you might get a letter about a discrimination complaint from a municipal or county employment agency. For example, the Orange County’s Department of Labor and Employment is a body that investigates discrimination and harassment complaints.

For the sake of discussion, let’s talk about the case of an EEOC complaint regarding discrimination. But, it could be any one of the three organizations and the process is basically the same. So the investigation process can vary widely in terms of how long it takes and what’s involved.

It could take as little as a couple of months or as long as several years and it all depends on:

  1. How enthusiastic the agency is about pursuing it.
  2. How big of a case it is.
  3. How complicated it is.
  4. How strong of a case it is.
  5. The actual individual personalities and initiative of the investigator assigned.

There will be a complaint and an answer to the complaint. At a minimum what they’re going to do is tell you about the complaint and give you an opportunity to file a written position statement responding to it. And so if you get one of these complaints, you should get professional help from an attorney to prepare your position statement.  You should not try to do that on your own.

You don’t want to lose the customer goodwill that you’ve invested a lot of money in while creating an image of this individual as the face of your company. And you don’t want him or her to exploit that investment by using it to get business for another company.

These are the legitimate business interests you’ve got to show that you’re experiencing in order to enforce the non-compete.

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