The labor and employment attorneys at Nardone Limited frequently represent businesses in defending against discrimination and harassment charges filed by former and current employees. Such discrimination or harassment charges can be filed for free with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (“OCRC”). Our attorneys and investigators include former prosecutors, FBI agents, and IRS criminal investigators. The professionals at Nardone Limited have vast experience representing clients before the EEOC and OCRC. Our experienced labor and employment lawyers will thoroughly review your case to ensure that you are properly defended. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your case.
The EEOC and OCRC are neutral administration agencies that respectively enforce federal discrimination laws and Ohio’s discrimination laws. The EEOC and OCRC receives and investigates charges of discrimination in employment on the bases of race, color, religion, sex, military status, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, and any other legally protected classes (“Protected Classes”). It is an unlawful discriminatory practice for employers to discharge without just cause, to refuse to hire, or otherwise to discriminate against a person with respect to hire, tenure, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment if such action is based upon one of these Protected Classes. The EEOC and OCRC initiate investigations into such alleged discriminatory practices. If an employer receives a charge of discrimination from the EEOC or OCRC, the employer should retain legal counsel immediately for representation on this matter.
Why is it important for an employer to retain legal counsel immediately upon receiving a charge of discrimination?
ANSWER: As an employer, it is always in your best interest to address the charge immediately. A pending investigation can be stressful on you, your business, and your relationships with your employees. Legal counsel can discuss the options with you and relieve some of the stress you experience after receiving a charge of discrimination. Additionally, retaining legal counsel immediately is very important in case the employee files a civil suit in the future, based upon the facts alleged in the charge. As lawyers experienced in responding to numerous charges of discrimination on behalf of employers, the professionals at Nardone Limited have the know-how to ask the important questions, obtain the necessary documentation to support your position, and present the pertinent facts and arguments to defend your position.
What should the employer expect to happen after receiving a charge of discrimination and retaining legal counsel to assist with responding to such charge?
ANSWER: After receiving a charge of discrimination, you will want to meet with legal counsel to: (i) discuss the charges and the related facts; (ii) provide legal counsel with any documentation requested by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and any other documentation supporting your position; and (iii) discuss the option and how you wish to proceed in responding to the charge.
How long will it take the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to issue a determination related to the charge of discrimination?
ANSWER: By law, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission generally has one year to complete the investigation. There is an exception to this rule that allows the Ohio Civil Rights Commission to extend the investigation for an additional one hundred days under certain circumstances. (ORC 4112.05).
Are there any appeal rights after the Ohio Civil Rights Commission has issued a determination?
ANSWER: Once the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s investigation is concluded, it will either issue a determination of “no probable cause,” or it will initiate a complaint if it finds there is “probable cause.” Once the determination is made, either side has the right to request reconsideration, a process by which the committee reexamines the case. The request for reconsideration should include any additional argument(s) and any supporting documentation.
What are the potential penalties an employer faces pending an Ohio Civil Rights Commission investigation?
ANSWER: If the Ohio Civil Rights Commission concludes that there is probable cause and there is no settlement, it will initiate a formal complaint and a hearing will be conducted by an administrative judge. Ultimately, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission can require an employer (i) to cease and desist from the unlawful practice and/or (ii) implement new business practices as a means to eliminate any discriminatory practices. In addition, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission can award the following in employment cases depending on the facts and circumstances of the charge: (i) back pay; (ii) position reinstatement; (iii) job promotion; and (iv) expungement of the employee’s disciplinary record.
Nardone Limited’s Overall Comments regarding Ohio Civil Rights Commission Investigations: As entrepreneurs and business owners, we already have it hard enough to ensure that our businesses are successful, remain competitive, and thrive in this current economy. But, on top of all the economic turmoil and industry issues that we may have to deal with, we must also combat the government’s regulatory authority in the area of discrimination. This is a time-consuming and stressful process. Further, many of the claims filed by current or former employees are simply false, and lack any basis in fact or law. Yet, we are forced to defend ourselves. The good news is that we have found that, if given the opportunity to properly and aggressively defend the employee’s allegations or complaints, we will succeed in defending the majority of the cases presented in the most cost efficient and timely manner. You must fight back.