People who feel trapped in a hostile work environment can immediately seek the assistance of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is because hostile work environment law and the EEOC go hand in hand. This body determines if the complainant has the basis to sue another individual or group of individuals for actions that resulted in breach of this law.
The EEOC is composed of five commissioners and a General Counsel who can only be appointed to that position by the President, duly supported and approved by the Senate. These commissioners stay in office for about five years. The five commissioners draft and improve equal employment opportunity policies and handle litigation processes. The General Counsel, on the other hand, is responsible for the litigations that involve the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, among others.
If the complainant is found to have all the reasons to complain under the hostile work environment law then he is given the Right to Sue document which is released by the same body. However, before it is given to the complainant, the EEOC follows a stringent process to determine a valid case of hostile workplace environment. The EEOC has a number of investigators who interview, investigate, and decide upon each point of aggrieved party.
These investigators spend time discussing with the complainant important matters relevant to the case. They would give recommendations as well as advice on the proper things to do to ensure justice. These discussions are free of charge and can be utilized by any complainant. One may opt to see a legal adviser to discuss pertinent matters about the case, but that would require a sum of money as a legal fee or professional fee. The EEOC investigator, on the other hand, can provide these legal services without any fee.
The EOCC investigator would usually start the process by asking the complainant if the incident was already reported to the employer. This has been the ultimate condition of the EOCC; that a case can only deserve merit as a hostile workplace environment case if the violation has been reported to the employer. If the employer knew about it and did nothing to prevent the violation recurring, then it would be the proper time for the complainant to file a lawsuit and expect to win such a case. The investigators opinion on any particular is however not final.
These cases are usually focused on areas that pertain to federally protected categories such as race, gender, sex, culture and others. Even if the investigator feels otherwise about a particular case (meaning it decides against the complainant), the complainant may still pursue the case by requesting a Right to Sue.
The EEOC makes, plans, and implements policies that are governed and in parallel with the laws such as the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Civil Rights Act of 1991.
To assist the EEOC, the Office of Inspector General at the EEOC was created by the United States Congress in 1988. The office ensures integrity, efficiency, and accountability in the agencys programs. It is autonomous in conducting audits, evaluations, and investigations concerning the programs, activities, and policies of the EEOC.