The agency is temporarily suspending investigation closure letters (unless requested) to ease the tension between litigation time limits and COVID-19 concerns.
The EEOC has confirmed to Labor and Employment Law Daily that the agency has temporarily suspended the issuance of charge closure documents unless a charging party requests them. This means that charging parties will not be faced with the statutory time limit for filing litigation after the EEOC’s closure of a charge investigation—an obvious concern given the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the federal sector, the EEOC has provided guidance and instructions for both complainants and agency officials to provide similarly needed flexibilities, according to EEOC Spokeswoman Kimberly Smith-Brown.
Easing concerns. “The EEOC appreciates that some people whose charges are currently before the EEOC may be worried that they might have to choose between jeopardizing their safety and protecting their rights,” Smith-Brown said. “The EEOC is mindful of this concern, so we have temporarily suspended the issuance of charge closure documents unless a charging party requests them.”
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the EEOC is continuing our mission of advancing equal employment in the workplace and enforcing our anti-discrimination laws, while taking steps to preserve the safety and well-being of our employees and people who believe they have experienced employment discrimination,” the spokeswoman explained.
Still on the case. Smith-Brown also noted that the public can continue to use the EEOC’s digital public portal and talk to the EEOC through its toll-free number. The agency is continuing to accept discrimination claims submitted online and over the phone, and it is working to educate the public on the use of these systems.
“The public should know that the EEOC is still working,” Smith-Brown said. “Employers should also understand that, notwithstanding the unprecedented circumstances we are now facing, the laws the EEOC enforces remain in full force and effect.”
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