March 19, 2024

I received notice a complaint has been made against me and my practice at EEOC. Am I being sued? Looks like its from an employee I fired for not coming back from maternity leave.   

Dr. O

No, you are not being sued. You are, however, being investigated by an administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. The agency fact finds on both sides - Complainant and Respondent and then issues a "No Probable Cause" or "Probable Cause" finding, whether discrimination happened. If there is a finding of discrimination, the EEOC will try to settle the matter or has the authority to issue a "right to sue" letter, or sue the employer themselves.   

How we defend at the EEOC level is a driving factor for whether or not, you will actually be sued or see increased exposure through the court system.  When you were sued, You face the reckoning of your peers in front of a jury, And that’s where your fate can be really dicey.  In case you’ve been living under a pile of rocks, you may not be aware that we are in a plaintiff, frothy environment, where juries are handing out insane awards. We would like to avoid litigation, pretty much, at all costs. That’s where the EEOC can be a positive forum, Where we can lay out the full merits of your defense and former employee they have no viable claim or path recovery at the EEOC, or in a court of law. In the alternative, it may be worthwhile to consider settling, and the EEOC also serves as a neutral forum to enable a settlement prior to any potential litigation.  

What maybe quite clear from the above is that this process is not one you should go it alone in. Know how to present your case and support is critical.  Almost as critical, is having your ducks in a row at the time of the termination, Which we should’ve discussed prior to you pulling the ripcord. Before you terminate, any employee, whether on protected status or not, whether they are at or not, In this environment it’s important to have your documentation in order.  

We are here to help if you have any questions on terminating an employee, or if you receive a letter from an administrative agency or otherwise.