December 8, 2019

December 06, 2019

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EEOC Has Begun Denying Employers’ Requests For Extensions Of Time To Respond To Discrimination Charges

What used to be a routine request – asking the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for an extension of time when responding to a charge of discrimination or harassment and assuming extra time would be granted – apparently is no longer such an automatic thing. In what may signal a broader shift in policy, the EEOC in Los Angeles recently denied an employer’s request for a brief extension of time to provide a position statement.  When asked for an explanation as to why the extension had been denied, the EEOC responded that while in the past they have granted extensions, there is a mandate from the administration to move cases along quickly and extensions will be granted now only in extraordinary circumstances.

It remains unclear whether this is just a new policy in the Los Angeles office of the EEOC or a nationwide change.  On its website, the EEOC notes that an extension of time will only be granted “when it is clear that the Respondent is working with due diligence to supply all of the necessary information.”

What does this all mean?

  • Employers should no longer assume that the EEOC will grant extensions of time as a matter of course.

  • Once a charge is received from the EEOC (if not before), an employer should immediately commence a prompt, thorough and effective investigation and be prepared to complete a timely written position statement for the EEOC.

  • Before conducting a timely and effective internal investigation, employers should consult counsel as well as the website of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing here.

The elements of what constitutes an “effective EEOC position statement” can be found on the EEOC’s website.

© 2019 Proskauer Rose LLP.


About this Author

Anthony J Oncidi, Employment Attorney, Proskauer Rose Law Firm

Anthony J. Oncidi heads the Labor & Employment Law Group in the Los Angeles office. Tony represents employers and management in all aspects of labor relations and employment law, including litigation and preventive counseling, wage and hour matters, including class actions, wrongful termination, employee discipline, Title VII and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, executive employment contract disputes, sexual harassment training and investigations, workplace violence, drug testing and privacy issues, Sarbanes-Oxley claims and employee raiding and trade secret protection....

Cole Lewis Employment Attorney

Cole Lewis is an associate in the Labor & Employment Department.

Cole graduated from UCLA School of Law, where he worked as a law clerk for Public Counsel of Los Angeles and advocated for benefit recipients in the Department of Public Social Services. He has also previously worked as a summer associate in Proskauer’s Labor & Employment Department.

Prior to law school, Cole received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism at Indiana University, where he graduated cum laude.