On August 9, 2006, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") officially opened its local Las Vegas office. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, EEOC Chair Cari M. Dominguez stated, "As the nation's fastest-growing metropolitan area, the people of Las Vegas will be well served by the expanded presence of the EEOC. . . .We look forward to working closely with the local employer, labor, legal and civil rights communities to proactively prevent employment discrimination on one hand, and provide vigorous law enforcement on the other."
Nevada employees have always been able to file their charges of discrimination with the EEOC by contacting its Los Angeles office. Moreover, some charges initially filed with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission ("NERC") are investigated by the EEOC for a variety of reasons, including the EEOC's interest (or targeting) of a particular employer or issue. In most cases, employers facing EEOC investigations experience a much more difficult and adversarial process than they would before NERC. With a few exceptions, the Los Angeles EEOC office is extremely aggressive.
It remains to be seen whether this approach will carry over into the EEOC's Las Vegas office, or whether this EEOC office will adopt the balanced and reasonable approach Nevada employers have come to expect from NERC. The EEOC's physical presence in Las Vegas will certainly lead to more charges being investigated by the federal agency, as opposed to NERC, and may also result in more charges being filed. Unfortunately, employers should prepare for the worst, including significant (and more aggressive) changes in how NERC processes and investigates it own cases.
The new EEOC office is located at 333 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Suite 8112, in the Lloyd D. George Federal Building.
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