The mission of the EEOC, as set forth in its strategic plan, is to promote equal opportunity in employment through administrative and judicial enforcement of the federal civil rights laws, education and technical assistance.
The EEOC carries out its work at headquarters and in 50 field offices throughout the United States. Individuals who believe they have been discriminated against in employment begin the processes by filing administrative charges. Individual Commissioners may also initiate charges that the law has been violated. Through the investigation of charges, if the EEOC determines there is "reasonable cause" to believe that discrimination has occurred, it must then seek to conciliate the charge to reach a voluntary resolution between the charging party and the respondent. If conciliation is not successful, the EEOC may bring suit in federal court. Whenever the EEOC concludes its processing of a case, or earlier upon the request of a charging party, it issues a "notice of right to sue" which enables the charging party to bring an individual action in court. The Commission also issues regulatory and other forms of guidance interpreting the laws it enforces, is responsible for the federal sector employment discrimination program, provides funding and support to state and local fair employment practices agencies (FEPA's), and conducts broad-based outreach and technical assistance programs.
Once an employee or applicant files a charge, the EEOC then serves notice on the employer, usually by mail, that a charge has been filed against it. This notice normally includes a copy of the actual charge filed by the employee or applicant. Title VII and the ADA require that n...
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...the employer should consider whether managers and employees need training in a particular area. By taking such action, the employer can not only assist in its defense of the present charge, but also help prevent future charges.
The recent, dramatic increase in the number of EEOC complaints charging employers with illegal discrimination has forced employers to realize that they are exposed to increasing amounts of liability -- including punitive damages -- for remarks and conduct of their managers and employees. This increased liability reinforces the importance of effectively handling and responding to a charge of discrimination filed with the EEOC. By properly handling the charge at its early stages, an employer can reduce significantly, or possibly eliminate, potential liability.
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