201911.15
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency assigned to investigate any potential allegations regarding workplace discrimination. We recommend that you contact a qualified labor and employment lawyer before filing a charge as a lawyer can explain in detail important circumstances to consider.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, protects you against workplace discrimination based on your race, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and age. When discriminated against at your place of employment, you may want to consider filing a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency assigned to investigate any potential allegations of discrimination at the workplace. When it comes to exploring your options, it’s best practice to understand what steps need to be taken to file a complaint with the EEOC, understanding how the EEOC claim process works, and lastly, how to proceed if the EEOC chooses (or doesn’t choose) to pursue your complaint.


HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT
An official Charge of Discrimination against your employer can be filed once you first submit an inquiry through the EEOC portal and an interview takes place. The Charge of Discrimination is a signed statement asserting that your employer has engaged in discriminatory activity and requests the EEOC to take remedial action. Keep in mind that you only have 180 days to file a charge, or 300 days if the state in which you work has a discrimination statute which parallels the relevant federal discrimination statute. Florida has such a statute. To fully understand the statute of limitations, we recommend you seek legal counsel as soon as the discrimination occurs.

Enter your zip code for the contact information of the EEOC office closest to you using the EEOC Office List and Jurisdictional Map: https://www.eeoc.gov/field/index.cfm

MEDIATION
Prior to investigating your complaint, the EEOC may recommend mediation with the intention to resolve the dispute from investigation or lawsuit. A mediator facilitates reaching a negotiated agreement between both parties. Mediation aims to provide an efficient resolution in hopes of ultimately reducing headaches and costs for the employer and the employee.

INVESTIGATION
The EEOC will open an investigation if 1) you choose to decline mediation or 2) mediation does not reach a resolution. The EEOC will investigate your claims and depending on the information they need to gather, the process is lengthy. The EEOC will request a Respondent’s Position Statement from your employer, hold interviews to gather questions regarding your claim and request additional documents or files. It is important that you produce as much information and evidence to the EEOC for the agency to take it under consideration while their investigation is pending. You should also periodically check in on your case once an investigator has been assigned to your case.

EEOC LAWSUIT & NOTICE OF RIGHT TO SUE
If the EEOC is not able to attain settlement with your employer, they can file a lawsuit on your behalf. At the end of their investigation, the EEOC will issue an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Notice of Right to Sue [as described in Title 29 Chapter XIV § 1601.28(e)] if they feel they are not able to conclude the case themselves — this marks the end of the EEOC’s investigation period. By law, the deadline to file your lawsuit in court must be within 90 days after your receipt of the Dismissal and Notice of Rights letter.

REPRESENTATION OF COUNSEL
We recommend having a consultation with a qualified labor and employment lawyer before you make a decision to file a charge, as a lawyer may recommend an approach to attempt to settle your claim prior to filing a charge, or help you file the charge directly with the EEOC in order to prepare your case for litigation. A qualified labor and employment lawyer can also explain to you in detail your statute of limitations and any other important circumstances to consider.


Additional Resources: