Bill Cosby won’t be remembered for his portrayal of Cliff Huxtable; he’ll make it into the history books for having given Quaaludes to women before raping them. Harvey Weinstein’s status as a Hollywood titan will be a footnote to his penchant for inviting women to his hotel room and answering the door in the nude. Matt Lauer’s groundbreaking interviews will be forever overshadowed by the entrapment button on his desk.
These serial abusers did not act in a vacuum. Often their abuse was enabled by employers who chose to settle accusations with financial payouts that obligated women to stay silent about their abuse and to withdraw any pending EEOC charges. (As most of you know, the EEOC is the federal agency tasked with investigating employment discrimination. Most federal anti-discrimination statutes, including Title VII, require an aggrieved an employee to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or an analogous state or local entity before filing suit.)
But can employers rest assured that the EEOC will necessarily drop an investigation upon request? What have appellate courts said about whether the EEOC can continue investigating when the perpetrator may have targeted other victims?
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