Administrative Charges and Hearings

Administrative Charges and Hearings

We provide full representation of employers for EEOC, DFEH and Labor Commissioner investigations, charges, audits and hearings

We provide complete representation of employers for investigations, audits, conferences, and hearings before administrative agencies, including:

  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
  • The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
  • The California Labor Commissioner/Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE)

These agencies can impose significant monetary awards against employers for claims such as unpaid wages and discrimination. The actions you take in response to charges with these agencies can determine the success of your defense and the extent of your liability.

EEOC and DFEH Charges

Before an employee can sue an organization for violating anti-discrimination laws, he or she must file a charge with the EEOC or the DFEH.  The EEOC is the federal agency responsible for enforcing most of the federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, retaliation, and requests for accommodation. The DFEH is the California agency responsible for enforcing state employment anti-discrimination laws.  The EEOC and DFEH are authorized to investigate employment discrimination charges, attempt to settle employment discrimination charges, and file employment discrimination lawsuits.

After receiving a discrimination charge, the EEOC and DFEH will notify the employer of the charge, and in most cases, request a formal, written response called a “position statement.” Unfortunately, the EEOC rarely screens out meritless charges, while the DFEH tends to take more care in investigating and prosecuting claims with some degree of merit. Regardless of the charge’s merit, the employer  must address and respond to each allegation in the charge. The position statement and accompanying documents are the employer’s official response to the charging party’s allegations. A position statement can explain the legitimate, nondiscriminatory, and non-retaliatory reasons for the actions taken against the charging party and any other defenses to the charge the employer wishes to assert.

Many employers fail to realize just how important the position statement is. How an employer responds in its position statement can have a critical impact on its legal exposure in any subsequent litigation because the employer cannot later retract factual statements it may have made in its response. Depending on the strength of the arguments in the position statement, and the evidence submitted in support thereof, the EEOC or DFEH may close the case. Otherwise, the agencies may also request interviews and ask for records and documents.

The agencies may encourage or require the parties to engage in a dispute resolution service such as mediation to encourage parties to resolve the complaint in appropriate cases. A voluntary resolution can also be negotiated at any time during the complaint process. If the parties are unable to resolve a complaint, the agencies continues the investigation to determine if a violation of the law occurred. If the EEOC or DFEH finds no violation occurred, the case will generally be closed. If the agencies find there were probable violations of the law, the parties may be required to go to mediation. At mediation, the parties have the opportunity to reach an agreement to resolve the dispute and close the case. If mediation fails, the the EEOC or DFEH may file a lawsuit.

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