What to Expect When Filing an EEOC Claim
September 22, 2021
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws against workplace discrimination and harassment including:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,
- The Pregnancy Discrimination Act,
- The Equal Pay Act,
- Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),
- Section 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act,
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and
- Title II of The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).
If you believe you have been discriminated against because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information you will need to file a complaint (referred to as a Charge) with the EEOC.
In this post, we will take a brief look at the steps involved in filing an EEOC charge and what you can expect after filing a charge.
How to File a Complaint with the EEOC
First and foremost, there are strict time limits for filing a charge with the EEOC, so it is important to act quickly. You may have as little as 180 calendar days to gather evidence and file your claim, so it is wise to speak with an experienced employment discrimination attorney shortly after the unlawful incident occurs. An employment discrimination attorney can help you determine if you have a valid claim and offer advice to strengthen your claim and improve your chances of success.
Once you decide to file a complaint, the simplest way to start the process is through the EEOC’s public portal. Start by submitting an online inquiry and you will receive an appointment for an interview. After your interview you can submit a Charge of Discrimination through the portal as well.
Within the portal you will be able to upload documents to support your charge and check on the status of your investigation. To strengthen your claim, it’s best to upload documents relevant to your claim, like performance evaluations or communications that evidence the unlawful activity. You should also gather names of people who are aware of the incident because they may need to be interviewed as well.
For federal employees and job applicants there is a different complaint process. An overview of the federal sector complaint process can be found on the EEOC website.
What Happens After Your Charge is Filed?
Once you submit your Charge of Discrimination, the employer will be notified within 10 days. The EEOC may ask you and the employer to participate in mediation – where a neutral third party will help both parties to reach a voluntary settlement agreement. According to the EEOC, most charges can be resolved quicker with mediation, often in three months or less.
If the mediation is unsuccessful or the Charge is not submitted to mediation, the employer will be asked to respond to the Charge with a position statement. You will be able to view their position statement in the EEOC portal and will be given an opportunity to respond (within 20 days of receiving the position statement).
From there, the EEOC will begin an investigation of your Charge. While every case is different, the EEOC reports that investigations typically last an average of 10 months.
Finally, you can request a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC if you filed a charge under Title VII or the ADA. You will need a Notice of Right to Sue before you can file a lawsuit in federal court. In most cases, you must give the EEOC 180 days to resolve your charge before requesting a Notice of Right to Sue. If you filed a charge under the ADEA you may file a lawsuit as long as you wait 60 days after the charge was filed (you do not need to obtain a Notice of Right to Sue).
The Attorneys at Grissom Miller Law Firm Can Help With Your EEOC Claim
Our experienced employee’s rights attorneys can help you navigate the EEOC claim process and pursue justice in federal court. We will help you determine if you have a valid claim and assist with the gathering of evidence to strengthen your case. We believe all workers should be treated with fairness and justice – and we aren’t afraid to stand up for your rights.
To learn more or schedule a free consultation, contact our office at 816-336-1213 or complete our online employment intake form. Once your intake form is received, we will follow up with you in the next 24 hours to discuss the next steps in your case.