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EEOC — A Black Hole?

Posted by Marc Smith | Oct 01, 2014 | 0 Comments

In most jurisdictions (DC excluded), the filing of what is known as an “administrative complaint” is a prerequisite to filing a discrimination lawsuit. The administrative complaint process, in theory, is supposed to result in an investigation of the claim and an opportunity to conciliate the complaint through alternate dispute resolution, such as mediation.

Unfortunately, the administrative complaint process is very often (but not always) flawed, at best. Many complaints filed at the Baltimore field office (where complainants of discrimination in Maryland are filed) are now frequently farmed out to other field offices across the country, which can cause delay and other procedural issues. Other complaints are not investigated and simply sit idle at the EEOC with no action at all. Fortunately, but only after waiting 6 months, the complaining party can request a “Right to Sue” notice from the EEOC and proceed with the filing of a lawsuit.

I have had some positive experiences with EEOC filings — but have had some bad ones as well. Most memorable involves a case I handled for a federal employee with the FDA. In this case, I was hired to represent the employee in a failure to promote case in a hearing before the Chief Administrative Judge of the EEOC. After a multi-day hearing at the Agency, the parties submitted written closing arguments to the judge and awaited the decision. That hearing took place during the summer of 2009. Now, more than 5 years later, the parties are STILL waiting for a decision.

Fortunately, there are some benefits that are provided during the EEO process. However, I tell this story to all of my federal sector clients who are considering filing an EEO claim so they know what to expect.

About the Author

Marc Smith

Marc J. Smith is a Rockville, Maryland employment attorney and a founding member of the law firm formerly known as Smith, Lease & Goldstein, LLC. In 2018, after 18 years managing Smith, Lease & Goldstein, LLC's employment counseling and litigation practice, Marc launched his own boutique practice...

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Representation Of Employers And Employees

The Law Office of Marc J. Smith, LLC is a boutique employment law practice based in downtown Rockville, Maryland near the Montgomery County Circuit and District Courts. The Firm’s practice focuses exclusively in the employment law arena and provides counseling, litigation and a wide range of other employment-related services to employers and employees throughout the State of Maryland, Washington D.C. and other jurisdictions. The Firm also represents individuals who have failed to register with the Selective Service System and who are trying to apply for or maintain federal employment.

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