Helpful Information About Filing A Claim For Employment DiscriminationFiled under Employment Law
Who Enforces The Law?
Federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against employees. However, not every workplace grievance is covered by federal law. Congress has passed laws to address only certain types of discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is a federal agency that investigates and enforces the nation’s anti-discrimination laws. Employers, employment agencies and labor organizations with more than 15 employees or members are subject to those laws. In general, the law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. While most states, including Nevada, have laws that prohibit employment discrimination, those laws are patterned after federal law.
Making a claim
If you believe you’ve been the victim of discrimination which is the type covered by the law (see above), then you can present a claim to the EEOC for investigation. The first step is to fill out a questionnaire at the local EEOC office. This starts the process. The questionnaire will seek information pertaining to the facts unique to your situation. A claim or “charge” (which is how the EEOC often refers to a claim) is a signed, written complaint about a negative employment action that you believe was based upon one of the factors identified in the preceding paragraph. After you’ve filled out the questionnaire, you will receive a copy of the charge with a charge number.
As a practical matter, is very advantageous to meet with an attorney before making a claim/charge with the EEOC. Failure to include all important facts can limit the type of investigation the EEOC conducts which in turn can limit an employee’s potential recovery. Thus, meeting with an attorney that has knowledge and experience in EEOC matters and the anti-discrimination laws can significantly benefit an employee’s potential claim.
Is There A Time Limit To File A Charge?
Generally, an employee has 180 days (300 in certain unique situations) from the day the employee knew about the negative job action to file a charge. So for example, if an employee is fired for discriminatory reasons on January 1st, he or she would have 180 days (or 6-months) to file a claim.
What Happens Once The Claim Is Made?
Once a claim is made, the EEOC begins an investigation. This usually entails providing the employer an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Once the investigation is complete, the EEOC may render certain findings or determine there is not enough information to draw any conclusions one way or the other. Once this happens, the EEOC will provide the employee with a “Right To Sue” letter. This letter will notify an employee of important rights and the fact that he/she has 90-days to file a federal lawsuit. Failure to file within this 90-day period can result in forfeiture of rights.
How Can A Lawyer Help?
While “what you say” is important, “how you say it” is equally important. This is where a lawyer can be a tremendous asset. Based on training and knowledge of the law, a lawyer can help you formulate a claim if there are sufficient facts to support making one. At Paul Padda Law, PLLC, we say “don’t get mad, get legal!”