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.
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