Understanding Laws Related to Workplace Discrimination Part 3
It’s critical that construction employers understand the laws related to workplace discrimination to ensure they are providing a discrimination-free workplace. In parts one and two of this six-part article, the St. Petersburg construction attorneys at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants discussed the federal agency that administers and enforces workplace discrimination laws, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). We also provided insight into what classifies a worker as “protected” by the EEOC. In this part, we will discuss the most common ways that employers report discrimination and how the EEOC conducts an investigation.
How Is Discrimination Usually Reported?
There are many ways that an applicant, employee, or former employee can report alleged discrimination. It’s critical that construction employers understand the most common ways discrimination is reported and have a reporting system in place. When employers are fully aware of any perceived acts of discrimination in their workplace, they can review the allegations, conduct an investigation, and determine if discrimination occured. With a reporting system in place, your construction business can mitigate these issues before they become a costly dispute.
Here are some of the most common ways discrimination is reported in the workplace:
- An employee can report discrimination directly to their supervisor, a human resources (HR) representative, or their employer.
- An employee can report discrimination through a union representative (if they are a member of a union) and some larger companies have 24-hour discrimination hotlines.
- If another employee witnesses discrimination, they can also report what they witnessed to their supervisor, a HR representative, or their employer.
- An employee can file an EEOC Charge of Discrimination. This will likely result in an investigation by the federal agency.
- An employee can hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against the company.
What Happens During an EEOC Investigation?
If an employee files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, this federal government agency will investigate the circumstances that lead to the filed charge. First, they will assess if the allegations are covered under federal law. If they do believe an act of discrimination occurred during an investigation, the agency will attempt to settle the charge with the employer before pursuing a lawsuit.
If the EEOC is unable to recover a settlement from the business, they may elect to file a lawsuit. As it states on the EEOC’s website, “When deciding to file a lawsuit, the EEOC considers several factors such as the strength of the evidence, the issues in the case, and the wider impact the lawsuit could have on the EEOC's efforts to combat workplace discrimination.”
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.