EEOC Suspends Issuing Right-to-Sue Notices Due to COVID-19 Pandemic
On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) formally announced that it is suspending the issuance of right-to-sue notices—unless requested to do so by a charging party—due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This action, which was prompted by an advocacy group’s campaign to secure a moratorium on the issuance of right-to-sue notices, as well as other items, essentially stalls the administrative agency process, and in turn stalls 90-day court filing deadlines for prospective plaintiffs.
Traditionally, after receiving a right-to-sue notice from the EEOC, a charging party must file a lawsuit against his or her employer within 90 days. By suspending the issuance of these notices unless a charging party specifically requests one, the EEOC recognized concerns raised by employee advocates that pursuing claims during this time may not be feasible or practicable. This new policy is temporary and it is expected that the EEOC will return to issuing right-to-sue notices in its normal course when shutdowns and safety protocols related to COVID-19 are lifted.
Employers with active EEOC matters should continue to check their EEOC portal and communicate with counsel concerning their cases if a charging party requests a right-to-sue notice or the EEOC requests that the employer provide documentation or information as the EEOC has not suspended investigations.
The attorneys in Clark Hill’s Labor & Employment Practice Group understand that this is a trying time for businesses around the country and are available to assist in navigating these uncharted waters. For more information, please visit Clark Hill’s COVID-19 Resources webpage.