What Employers Need to Know About the EEOC and TWC Discrimination / Harassment / Retaliation Charge Process

While no employer likes to think about an employee filing a discrimination complaint, it’s important to be prepared by knowing how the process works.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) some of the most common discrimination complaints concern refusal to hire, termination, demotion, or harassment due to:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Disability
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy
  • Retaliation for previous complaint

Employees in Texas who believe they have been discriminated against in employment may submit a discrimination complaint through one of two venues:

The exact process will depend on the route the employee chooses for his or her complaint, but both the TWC and the EEOC follow similar initial procedures.

  1. The agency will notify you that a complaint has been filed.
  2. The agency will review the complaint to determine whether the case is eligible for mediation which the EEOC calls “conciliation’.
  3. If mediation is appropriate and agreed, the parties will have the opportunity to mediate with a highly trained EEOC employee – often an ex-EEOC investigator.   
  4. If the agency decides that the case is not eligible for mediation, the parties will not agree to it, or mediation is not successful, often an investigation will proceed.  In the investigation, the government may ask the employer to take one or more of the following actions:
    • Submit a Position Statement, in which your organization has an opportunity to tell its side of the story
    • Respond to a Request for Information, which may include the charging party’s personnel file, your organization’s personnel policy, and/or other relevant documents
    • Agree to an on-site visit
    • Provide contact information for or have employees available for witness interviews

What happens next will depend on the specifics of the allegation, the agency or agencies involved, and your response to their requests. The EEOC stresses that even if you believe the charge does not have merit, you should cooperate with investigators as fully as possible and provide complete and accurate information.

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