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Wednesday Worklaw Alert: Southern District EEOC Makes it Easier to Dispose of Discrimination Complaints

October 28th, 2020 Christopher Davis
Alarming changes in the SDNY EEOC

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is tasked with investigating charges of discrimination against employers. The EEOC is currently extremely backlogged with cases. Recently, employment lawyers in New York have received a flurry of dismissals or non-action from southern district EEOC offices. This is due to a change in the way the EEOC processes cases that allows for them to be more easily transferred, without investigation, to other jurisdictions and agencies.

This policy was finalized on Thursday, October 15. Previously, only more senior EEOC officers had the authority to transfer cases. Now, lower level officers such as supervisory investigators are able to do so. This has made it much easier for the Southern District EEOC to dispose of discrimination complaints and unload them onto other jurisdictions or agencies, such as the NYC Commission on Human Rights. As described in a Law360 article, “ . . . the agency is expanding the authority for dismissing and discharging cases to investigators in addition to office directors, who were previously the only ones with that authority. The EEOC contends the step will help free up office directors’ time for other enforcement efforts.”

Perceptive or Problematic?

Many fear that these procedural changes will do more harm than good and lead to the removal of important safeguards that prevent cases from being improperly transferred without investigation. It seems that these fears are warranted, as many employment lawyers in New York have noticed a worrying trend of dismissals and non-action.

In our firm’s opinion, this change in procedure is problematic because other agencies are just as backlogged with discrimination cases as the EEOC. The solution to these problems is not to simply shift this burden onto other overloaded agencies or summarily turn away complainants without any attempt at investigation into their cases. Rather, the solution is to address the backlog in cases head-on instead of facilitating procedural changes that make it easier to idly pass responsibility. These new policies benefit the EEOC’s bureaucracy rather than the employees seeking legal assistance regarding discrimination in the workplace.

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, seek legal assistance from the Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.