On Wednesday, November 16, 2022, Lindsay A. DiSalvo and Megan S. Shaked presented a webinar regarding Practical Advice for Responding to Administrative Charges of Discrimination and Retaliation.
When an administrative agency, like the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), receives a complaint of discrimination or retaliation, the employer is given an opportunity to respond and provide information/evidence pursuant to the agency’s investigation of the complaint. In its response, the employer can explain why the action taken against the employee was legitimate or did not occur as alleged. These responses are an opportunity for the employer to provide sufficient information to avoid further action by the administrative agency or potentially litigation of the claim(s). A strong response could demonstrate there is no support for the complaint and resolve the complaint in a favorable manner for the employer. However, these responses can also create a written record of admissions to which the agency can hold the employer accountable, and any supporting documentation may be closely scrutinized and used to establish liability. Thus, employers must be thoughtful in sharing information at this early stage and should ensure there is a procedure in place for managing and developing these responses.
The District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia have enacted or are considering a host of changes that employers need to keep track of in 2022, including increases to the minimum wage and amendments to anti-discrimination laws. Maryland revised its Fair Employment Practices Act to extend the time period for filing a charge of discrimination alleging an unlawful employment practice other than harassment, introduced new requirements for employers to comply with when conducting mass layoffs, amended its leave laws to account for paid bereavement leave, and passed a law permitting employers to file for peace orders on behalf of an employee facing threats or acts of violence in the workplace. The District of Columbia passed a law banning non-compete agreements for almost all employees. Virginia amended its Overtime Wage Act, which now provides overtime protections for employees under state law and establishes a three-year statute of limitations. Virginia also added “disability” to the list of characteristics protected from discrimination under the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA), which came shortly after the VHRA was expanded last year to cover most Virginia employers.