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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Explain how your business works. Details about your organization may help provide context for your actions.
- 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.
- 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.