According to a news report published by Reuters
, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") has stopped sending Right to Sue letters ("RTS") to complainants for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An RTS is a statement from the EEOC that it has concluded its investigation into a charge and is generally required for an employee to bring suit for claims of discrimination under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Once an RTS has been issued, the complainant has 90 days to file a lawsuit, or the claim is time-barred.
According to the story, the EEOC says the move – which happened in mid-March – was intended to protect EEOC employees and the public, and the agency is still accepting discrimination complaints and enforcing anti-discrimination laws. Most EEOC field offices are closed, and the EEOC’s website says their “Field Offices have temporarily stopped conducting in-person intake interviews,” but those offices still are accepting charges and are conducting intake interviews by telephone.
Importantly, this “hold” does not change any statutory deadline for an aggrieved individual to file a charge. It merely places any currently pending charges in a limbo until some point in the future. It also does not impact any charge currently pending before a state agency, though many of those have largely suspended operations as well. We anticipate a deluge of RTS letters once the EEOC’s suspension ends.
If you have a pending charge with the EEOC, please contact any member of the COVID-19 Task Force
to discuss how this decision may impact your situation.