EEOC Clarifies No Cause Finding ≠ No Merit


In issuing a Final Rule that authorizes the digital transmission of charge-related documents, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also took the opportunity to explain that a “no cause” finding at the conclusion of its investigation into an employee’s charge of discrimination is not necessarily a finding that the charge has no merit.

Employees who believe they have been subjected to discrimination under federal antidiscrimination laws must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC before they can bring suit. If, following an investigation (by either the EEOC or a local/state fair practices agency), the EEOC finds no reasonable cause to believe an unlawful employment practice has occurred (known as a “no cause determination”), it then issues a written Dismissal and Notice of Right to Sue.

The EEOC has modified the language of the Dismissal to clearly state that, although the EEOC is choosing not to proceed with the investigation, it is making no finding as to the merit of the discrimination claim. According to the EEOC, this change is intended to ensure that employees, employers and courts understand that private proceedings or litigation may still lead to court findings of discrimination or settlements.