Preventing and Responding to an EEOC Charge Toolkit

Resources to assist an employer in preventing and responding to an EEOC or state administrative agency charge alleging an employment law violation.

Practical Law Labor & Employment

Charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( (EEOC) have declined slightly from the record highs in fiscal years 2010 to 2012, but the number of charges filed each year remains high. A total of 91,503 charges of employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation were filed in FY 2016, up slightly from 89,385 in FY 2015 (see EEOC: Charge Statistics).

According to its Fiscal Year 2016 Performance and Accountability Report, the EEOC decreased its private sector backlog of charges by nearly 4% in FY 2016.

The agency itself is actively litigating as well. In FY 2016, the EEOC field legal units filed 86 merit lawsuits, including 29 suits involving multiple claimants or discriminatory policies. The agency's field offices resolved 273 systemic investigations and obtained $20.3 million in monetary remedies for victims in systemic investigations. This activity reflects the EEOC's initiative that began in FY 2006 to prosecute systemic violations of federal anti-discrimination laws. By the end of FY 2016, systemic suits represented 47 percent of all active merit suits.

In FY 2016, the EEOC also secured:

  • Nearly $348 million in monetary benefits through its administrative enforcement actions in private sector employment.

  • More than $52 million in monetary benefits through its litigation program.

  • $82 million for federal employees and applicants

(Fiscal Year 2016 Performance and Accountability Report.)

Employers can reduce the risk of financial and legal exposure by:

  • Understanding the legal basics, including requirements under the laws enforced by the EEOC.

  • Establishing robust policies, including:

    • equal employment opportunity;

    • anti-harassment; and

    • anti-retaliation.

  • Promptly and thoroughly investigating employee complaints.

  • Promptly and accurately responding to EEOC charges.

This Toolkit provides several continuously maintained resources designed to help employers prevent and respond to charges of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation filed with the EEOC. It may also be helpful to employers responding to complaints filed with state or local equivalent fair employment practices agencies ( .


Practice Notes


Standard Documents and Clauses

Model Policies

Model Investigation Documents

Model EEOC Documents

Model Training Materials

Other Model Documents






State-Specific Materials










New Jersey

New York






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