Basic Rules for Responding to a Human Rights Claim

What should you do when you receive a claim from the Human Rights Commission or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?  How you respond sets a tone for the charge, and also for defense of possible claims arising after the response.  Here are five suggestions that should guide your response:

  1. Contact your EPLI carrier if you have insurance, and coordinate with counsel.  Prompt reporting of a claim is a requirement of all insurance.  An agency charge may be the first step to litigation, and input from counsel to investigate, review, and coordinate defense is important.
  2. Be accurate and inclusive.  Conduct a sufficient investigation to verify the information.  Also, preserve all pertinent information and documents, and avoid future spoliation issues by suspending document destruction practices.
  3. Explain how your business works.  Details about your organization may help provide context for your actions.
  4. Recount all that happened completely.  Even if the charge includes only an imprecise allegation, a comprehensive response with justification for all decisions is preferable.  This includes making all necessary witnesses available, and you must ensure confidentiality and no retaliation during the interview process.
  5. Provide context for the charge.  Outlining your consistent past actions displays that your organization is responsible and treated the current employee the same as others.
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About Andrew (Andy) Wampler

For over a decade, I have provided legal services to businesses and individuals in Northeast Tennessee. I spend time litigating breaches of contract, medical malpractice, and commercial disputes and have worked on a number of transactions. I also advise businesses, working much of my time on healthcare and employment matters.

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