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Can my workplace discrimination claim be kept confidential?

Iowans who are confronted with an employee rights violation and are hoping to file a complaint about it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will often be worried about confidentiality and the chance that they will suffer retaliation and other repercussions because of speaking out. This is a natural reaction to an already intimidating situation. Understanding the EEOC's policy on public sector confidentiality when lodging a complaint is an important part of a case as is having legal assistance.

When the EEOC gets information from a complainant who has suffered employment discrimination, harassment or any other employment-related mistreatment, the employer will not be notified until the charge has been filed. The complainant must provide the following information: their name, address and contract information; the name and contact information for the employer; and approximation of the number of employees at the workplace; the date(s) when the issues took place; the employer's explanation, if there is one; why the complainant thinks the actions were taken; and if others were treated in a more favorable way and who they are.

The employees at the EEOC are bound by confidentiality agreements and cannot share this information. The EEOC must inform the employer of the charge within 10 days of when it was filed. Certain information may be shared regarding the action. The public cannot be notified. The complainant cannot remain anonymous. The identity must be on the charge and it must be signed. For those who want to remain anonymous, the charge can be filed on behalf of another person who has been victimized. The reality is that it can be hard to keep the identity of the person anonymous despite attempts to do so.

The employer is legally prevented from retaliating against an employee who lodged a complaint about discrimination. If there is a belief that there was retaliation, the investigator from the EEOC should be contacted to make that person aware. The retaliation charge can be added to the complaint. Complaining about workplace discrimination takes fortitude and those who take that step should not be fearful of anything when they do. Calling a law firm that has a history of helping those who have filed a workplace discrimination complaint adds another layer of protection to what the EEOC is supposed to provide and is beneficial throughout the process.

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