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An employee who believes that you have violated his or her rights may file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC then decides whether to dismiss the complaint or accept it.

If it decides to accept the claim, the EEOC will then conduct its own non-adversarial investigation into the claims your employee has made in the complaint. The expectation is that you will cooperate with the investigation. So that you understand what you can expect, here are answers to questions you may have about the investigation process.

1. What sort of complaints does the EEOC investigate?

The EEOC may choose to investigate claims against your company related to allegations of retaliation, discrimination or harassment, to cite a few examples. If the EEOC decides to investigate such a complaint, you will receive notification of the charge levied against your business.

2. How long does the EEOC have to investigate the complaint?

Upon receiving the initial complaint, the EEOC has 180 days from the date of filing to complete the investigation. However, if the complaint becomes consolidated with another or otherwise amended, the EEOC must complete its investigation within 360 days of the original filing or 180 days of the latest filing, whichever is earlier.

3. What happens during the investigation?

There are a number of investigative methods at the EEOC’s disposal to look into the matter. You may receive a request for information, to which you have to make an appropriate response. You may have to submit a Statement of Position presenting your side of the story. You may also have to participate in a fact-finding conference or a one-on-one interview with representatives of the EEOC and help arrange witness interviews with employees.

As you piece together your estate plan in Hayward, one nagging thought that likely lingers in the back of your mind is that at least a portion of your accumulated assets will have to go towards paying taxes. Like many people, you may have already accepted this as an inevitability (after all, “death and taxes,” right?).

Yet that may not necessarily be the case. California does not impose either an estate tax or an inheritance tax on its residents, meaning that the only taxes your estate may be subject to come from the federal level. There is the possibility, however, that your estate may escape a tax liability altogether (either through allotted exemptions or your careful planning).

The federal estate tax exemption

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a federal estate tax exemption exists for 2020 in the amount of $11.58 million. Thus, if the total taxable value of your estate comes in at less than that amount, it will not be subject to tax. It is also possible for you to extend that amount by combining your estate plans with those of your spouse.

Electing estate tax portability

The benefit of estate tax portability permits you to combine your unused estate tax exemption with that of your spouse. By using this benefit in conjunction with the unlimited marital deduction (which allows you to pass an unlimited amount to your spouse free of taxes), you could potentially protect up to $23.16 million for your beneficiaries. Leaving your assets to your spouse upon your death invokes the unlimited marital deduction while preserving your entire estate tax exemption. Your spouse then need only file an estate tax return within nine months of your death to combine that unused exemption amount with their own.

Upon meeting a new partner and deciding to get married after previously getting a divorce or losing a spouse to death, a person should feel hopeful about their future and their new family. 

The joy that a new marriage may bring should not, however, prevent a person from prudently reviewing their estate plan to ensure that any children they have from their prior marriage receive their intended inheritance. 

Blended families and complex estate planning needs 

Adult children or even grandchildren may expect to receive a specific inheritance upon the death of their parent or grandparent. This may even have been discussed among the family. However, when that parent or grandparent remarries, things may change. Forbes explains that a simple will may lack the ability to ensure the children and grandchildren will receive what was expected if assets first flow to the surviving spouse. 

Families must prepare themselves for any number of unexpected events after the death of the first spouse, including yet another remarriage on the part of the surviving spouse. 

Trusts for spouses and children 

Fortunately, people may select from a variety of trust types to find the one that provides for their loved ones appropriately. Some blended families find the use of a qualified terminable interest trust appropriate. According to Policy Genius, a QTIP trust allows assets to be titled into the trust. When the person dies, their surviving spouse may collect an income from the trust assets for the remainder of their life or for a certain time period. 

When the surviving spouse eventually dies, the trust assets then flow to the children or the grandchildren of the spouse who established the trust. 

Sexual harassment is an issue in just about every employment sector, and if you have employees working under you, you should never underestimate the value of offering them sexual harassment prevention training. Sexual harassment settlements wind up costing today’s business owners tens of millions of dollars every year, with national payouts increasing from $47.5 million to $70 million in 2018 alone. 

The onset of the #MeToo movement may also make employees more inclined to speak out about the harassment they experience. So, it is more critical than ever that you offer sexual harassment training as a preventative measure. Doing so may also benefit you and your business in the following ways. 

It may help prevent litigation 

Offering sexual harassment prevention training teaches your staff members what is and is not acceptable in a professional environment, which may help you avoid litigation. If your workforce is on the younger side, your team members may not have an existing understanding of what behaviors may constitute sexual harassment. By offering them training, you are demonstrating that you value a harassment-free work environment, which may make your workers more cognizant of their actions. 

It helps build a cohesive team 

Estimates suggest that victims fail to report almost 70% of sexual harassment incidents. Often, employees simply quit when faced with an uncomfortable or hostile work environment, rather than file claims against the employer. This may lead to high turnover, which may hinder your team’s morale and cost you considerable money and time on training new workers. 

When your employees experience on-the-job sexual harassment, it may also impact their physical or mental health. This may lead to higher absenteeism, which may hinder your business’s productivity and cause profits to suffer. By offering sexual harassment prevention training, you are showing your workers that you care about them and wish to prevent potential hardships before they arise. This may lead to happier, more comfortable employees and a more productive workforce.