If you believe you have been discriminated against, there are certain steps you will need to take before you can move forward with filing a lawsuit. This is especially true if your employer is covered under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After reading this, click here to find out what is required of your employer by the EEOC and what you can do to get the information you need to build a successful case against your employer when you have been discriminated against.
First, how do you know if your employer is covered under the EEOC? Generally speaking, companies with at least 15 employees (and at least 20 for age discrimination cases) are covered by the EEOC. These are not the only coverage requirements, and if you are unsure whether or not you will need to go through the EEOC first, you should read the coverage requirements on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s site or contact an employment discrimination attorney with your questions.
Which laws does the EEOC enforce?
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws. They are headquartered in Washington, D.C. and have offices around the nation where you can take your charge. They protect job applicants, employees, former employees, and applicants/participants in training and/or apprenticeship programs from discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information. In addition, they provide protection from retaliation if you complain about such activity or assist in the investigation. Under the laws enforced by the EEOC, an employer is also prohibited from denying a reasonable workplace accommodation.
What can you expect once you file your complaint?
Once you have filed your discrimination charge with the EEOC, it is possible that your employer may attempt to resolve the charge through mediation or settlement, but you do not have to feel pressured to accept such invitations. It would be best to contact an employment attorney before agreeing to anything.
Your charge will most likely proceed to an investigation, and the commission will begin gathering evidence. They may contact you and your employer for more information. The investigation could take upwards of 180 days. If you feel strongly that you will file a lawsuit with the federal court, you should utilize this time to your advantage, working with an attorney to begin building your case.
The EEOC will either determine that there is or is not reasonable cause to believe the discrimination occurred. However, regardless of the EEOC’s decision, you can still file a lawsuit if you wish to pursue justice. Contact our offices for advice on your specific situation. We have a competitive record representing clients through their employment disputes.