The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency established in 1964 with the Civil Rights Act to administer and enforce any civil rights laws pertaining to workplace discrimination.
If you are a victim of workplace discrimination, you will need to file a claim against your employer with the EEOC. Here are the details that you need to get a claim underway with the EEOC.
Steps To Take When Filing An EEOC Claim
When you are filing an EEOC claim, you need to make sure you understand the process. It is an easy process to get your claim filed with the EEOC.
You can file your complaint online or in person at the nearest EEOC office. You have 180 days to file a claim. if you wait too long, you cannot file a claim. if you are also filing with a local or state agency, that time frame is extended to 300 days.
Before an investigation into your claim gets underway, the EEOC may suggest mediation between your employer and you. This process works to resolve the dispute directly without a lawsuit or an investigation.
If the mediation process does not resolve the issue, or if you decline mediation, the EEOC will open an investigation. They will interview your employer, visit the place of employment, and interview witnesses.
If the EEOC investigation reveals legal violations, they will work to settle your case. The settlement may include compensatory and punitive damages.
If the EEOC cannot reach a settlement with your employer regarding your claim, they can file a lawsuit on your behalf. Although the EEOC will be filing the lawsuit, you can benefit by having your own employment law attorney representing you.
Working With A State or Local Agency
Oftentimes states and local jurisdictions have their own laws in place to prevent discrimination. There may even be local or state agencies in place to help enforce those laws.
If you file a charge with a Fair Employment Practices Agency (FEPA), it will also be dual filed with the EEOC if there are applicable federal laws that apply to your situation.
You will not have to file your claim with both agencies. You will need to cooperate with the investigating agency and provide copies of any evidence or documentation that you have that will support your claim.
Remedies for Workplace Discrimination
If your workplace discrimination claim is successful, you do have remedies available to you. The kind of relief that you are awarded is dependent on the discriminatory act that you suffered and the effect that it had on you.
As an example, if someone is not selected for a job or given a promotion because of discrimination, the remedy could include being put in that specific job role and receiving the benefits and backpay they would have received in that role if they were put in that job when they should have been.
You may receive compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney’s fees, fees associated with hiring expert witnesses, and court costs.
Discrimination can involve an individual’s race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or genetic information.
Compensatory damages will pay victims for their direct out-of-pocket expenses caused by the discriminatory actions. These may include costs associated with their medical expenses or job searches.
These awards are designed to compensate for any emotional harm, including mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, or inconvenience suffered because of the discriminatory acts.
Punitive damages may be awarded to punish an employer who has committed a malicious or reckless discriminatory act toward an employee.
There are limits on the dollar amount of punitive and compensatory damages that an individual can recover from a claim. The limits are based on the employer.
As an example, employers who have 15 to 100 employees cannot be forced to pay out more than $50,000, but an employer with 101 to 200 employees that maximum payout climbs to $100,000. For employers with more than 500 employees, the limit caps at $300,000.
Next Steps to Take
If you are being discriminated against while at work, you can file an EEOC claim against your employer to put a stop to the behavior and recover compensation for your damages.
An employment law attorney can help you maneuver the claims process and gather supporting evidence and documentation. If you suffered workplace discrimination, you do have limited time to pursue a claim against your employer.
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