Terminology important in EEOC cases
In a recent article “Ex-worker under Sandoval won EEOC judgment in 2009,” there were a few carefully chosen words and inaccurate phrases and terminologies that would lead the uninformed reader to conclude or mistakenly assume that the controversy that existed was between Christensen (Daryl) and Sandoval (Rick), with Christensen being declared the winner.
I must state emphatically, nothing could be further from the truth or more detrimentally stated. I am not referring to the contents or the correctness and accuracy of the facts stated in the article, although I am curious as to who provided the reporter with specifics of the hearing, rather I am criticizing the manner in which the article purposely misled the public.
Case in point, in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hearing, never is one employee pitted against another employee. All discrimination conflicts that are accepted and eventually heard by the commission are stated to reflect the employee's beef is with the uppermost echelon of the supervisory chain.
For example, if the matter was a concern of employment that occurred within the U.S. Army, the case would have been clearly stated as “the plaintiff's name vs. John McHugh, Secretary of the Army.” In this matter, the discrepancy should have been stated as “Daryl Christensen vs. Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security.”
Another very important point regarding EEOC hearings, never is a case termed or classified as “won or lost.” More often than not, after considerable compromising between all parties involved, a determination is made and a settlement is reached, sometimes to the employee's favor, sometimes not. As the reporter accurately stated, “The settlement agreement is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing on the part of any party.”
JOHN “BUD” JOHNSON
Equal Employment Opportunity specialist, retired