Take Discrimination Charges Lightly At Your Peril

November 8, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

The Harvey Weinstein alleged sexual assault headlines are bringing forward more and more people with accusations not just against the producer but numerous boldfaced names in Hollywood. The victims often say that their advancement in Hollywood relied on having to deal with boorish and often criminal behavior of a sexual nature toward them.

Despite anyone’s best intentions, it is possible for a nonprofit to be charged with some type of discrimination, a charge that might be investigated by any of a number of governmental bodies.

    The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has made a wide variety of material on its Website, including an online resource for small businesses, the Small Business Resource Center (SBRC). The SBRC offers the following for an employer receiving an EEOC charge of discrimination:

  • Review the charge notice carefully. The EEOC “Notice of a Charge of Discrimination” informs that a complaint has been filed against the organization.
  • Follow the directions on the EEOC charge notice. The notice might ask for a response to the charge. This is an opportunity to explain why the claims in the charge are incorrect or not illegal.
  • Consider EEOC mediation to resolve the charge quickly and confidentially, at no cost.
  • Respond to requests for additional information from the EEOC, even if the charge is frivolous. The information provided might cause the EEOC to dismiss the charge.
  • If additional time to respond is needed, or if there are questions or concerns about the type or amount of information that the EEOC has requested, contact the investigator assigned to the charge.
  • Protect employees from retaliation. Retaliation is illegal, even if the EEOC concludes that the charge of discrimination does not have merit.
  • Retain relevant documents.
  • Contact the EEOC investigator if there are questions.