EEOC Can Investigate Widespread Discrimination Even If Only One Employee Complains

Employment discrimination laws require you to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency charged with investigating all claims of employment discrimination. As part of that process, the EEOC will begin an investigation into claim. Many people worry about taking the first step in filing a lawsuit and being unsure the extent of the discrimination. A recent lawsuit determined that even if an individual files a lawsuit, it may be possible to search company wide for evidence that a the business engages in system-wide discrimination, making it possible to bring a class action lawsuit.

In EEOC v. Schwan’s Home Service, a former female Schwan’s management trainee filed a sex discrimination case in 2007. She later amended her claim in 2009 to add classwide claims and sought to obtain information by subpoena about just how many women were local managers and how the company prepares and selects employees for these jobs.

Schwan’s objected, claiming that the charges fell outside Title VII’s 300-day statute of limitations period. The Eighth Circuit court disagreed, noting that during the subpoena information gathering process questions of timeliness are immature. Further, charges of individualized discrimination “need not be compartmentalized” from charges of systemic gender discrimination in determining the validity of claims. In fact during the subpoena process if a valid charge exists, requests for information “related to” unlawful practices covered by Title VII are valid, and may include any evidence that “might case light on the allegations.” Here, because the investigation into a charge of individual gender discrimination revealed potential systemic gender discrimination, authority existed to subpoena evidence further exploring potentially relevant systemic gender discrimination.

The first step to stopping discrimination is filing a claim. If you have questions or believe you have been subjected to harassment or unequal treatment, contact a dedicated Georgia employment discrimination lawyer.

All charges of employment discrimination under Federal law start with a EEOC, it’s a good idea to hire a private Atlanta workers rights law firm such as to Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP from the start to begin the filing process help you pursue all potential claims you may have.