Chances are that you try to run your business with a great deal of care and consideration. You likely try to promote strong cultural values among your employees, aim to treat your contractual partners fairly and consider the wellbeing of your customers during the course of your operations. However, unexpected challenges may arise despite your best efforts to run a lucrative and respectable business.

For example, administrative errors or other missteps could lead to wage and hour complaints from your employees. Or misconduct by a member of your managerial staff may result in a discrimination or harassment claim. It can be difficult to know how to respond to these unexpected challenges. This may be true especially if the claims are filed not only with your human resources department but also with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Before an employee may file a lawsuit against your company for mistreatment related to discrimination, harassment or wage and hour violations, he or she must first file a claim with the EEOC. The EEOC will then investigate the employee’s claim and several courses of action may result from that investigation. Once you receive a complaint from the EEOC, it is important not to panic. Panic tends to result in actions that may be regrettable later.

Instead of panicking, calmly consult an attorney experienced in these kinds of cases. An attorney will be able to advise your on how to respond without inflaming the situation in any significant way. You may be given the option to mediate the situation or you may not. But no matter what options are available to you in the wake of an EEOC complaint, it is generally best to avoid panicking and to consult an attorney as quickly as possible.

Source: Findlaw Free Enterprise, “What to Do If You Get an EEOC Complaint,” Christopher Coble, April 3, 2015