Before You Sue for Workplace Discrimination, Contact the EEOC

Angry. Hurt. Saddened. Demoralized. These are four emotions many people feel after they feel they have been discriminated against in the workplace. Most people in this position are rightfully outraged and ready to go straight to court.

Unfortunately, you will probably have to complete a few steps before you obtain the legal right to sue your employer. Unless you are suing for workplace discrimination based on ageism or unequal wages on the basis of sex, you usually must get a right-to-sue letter from the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

What is the Right-to-Sue Letter?

If you receive a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, the Commission is communicating that it has not yet reached a resolution on the matter with your employer and that it will not sue on your behalf. It’s almost saying, “You are now free to go to court on your own.” However, you will never truly be on your own if you partner with Attorney Ralph Bryant. The earlier you contact an attorney, the more knowledgeable they will be about your situation, increasing your chances of success.

Before receiving a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC, you must file your charge with the agency. If the EEOC believes your charge has merit, it will likely contact your employer within 10 days and ask to conduct mediation. This stage of the process is designed to be as non-confrontational as possible in the interests of coming to an efficient resolution. Neither you nor your employer are required to go through mediation, though, and mediation does not always result in a resolution. In those cases, the EEOC may proceed to a formal investigation.

An EEOC investigation begins with the EEOC’s requesting a statement from your employer. This statement essentially functions as your employer’s response to your original claim (charge). After your employer issues this statement, you have 20 days to post a rebuttal.

During the EEOC investigation, which takes an average of 10 months, you may continue to add documents or supporting evidence to your original charge. At the conclusion of the EEOC’s investigation, the agency will notify you whether or not it believes the law has been violated. Even if the EEOC determines that your employer violated the law, it may choose not to file a lawsuit on your behalf–the federal government has limited resources.

If the EEOC does not file a lawsuit in your case, it should provide you with the notice-to-sue letter no later than 180 days after you file your charge.

The EEOC is Helpful, But the Real Power is in Your Hands

For many people who have been discriminated against, the EEOC process is merely a formality on the way to a real lawsuit. The EEOC is an extremely beneficial agency that helps many employees, but it is no substitute for an experienced, personable employment law attorney. 

No worker should ever be judged on any basis besides the ability to perform their job. The moment you feel that something your employer did to you wasn’t quite right, call us as soon as you can. The earlier you contact us, the sooner we can begin analyzing your case and fighting for you.

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Ralph Bryant Law Firm

Aggressive and Compassionate Legal Representation in North Carolina | With over three decades of experience in both state and federal courts, Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr. is committed to getting you justice. Our office is in Greenville, North Carolina, but we serve clients across Eastern North Carolina and in the Triad. Regardless of your legal situation, you can count on us to bring you the best legal advice and services in the region. We don’t care what your background is or what you need from us. Our goal is to help you take power back in your life through aggressive and compassionate legal solutions. There is always hope when you work with Attorney Ralph Bryant Jr.

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