What happens after I file an EEOC complaint?

You can file an EEOC complaint if you experienced discrimination in the workplace

You can file an EEOC complaint if you experienced discrimination in the workplace

What is an EEOC complaint?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is a federal agency that enforces civil rights laws. Federal anti-discrimination laws enforced by the EEOC include:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”)
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963 (“EPA”)
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”)
  • Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”)
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (“GINA”)

These laws prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Religion
  • Sex (including pregnancy)
  • National origin
  • Age (40 or older)
  • Disability
  • Genetic information

If you experienced discrimination in the workplace, you can file an EEOC complaint (or “Charge of Discrimination”).

Filing an EEOC complaint begins a potentially lengthy and complicated process for legal remedy but it can provide many benefits. Talk to a KM&A attorney if you plan to take legal action against an employer for unlawful discrimination. For a free and immediate consultation with an experienced employment attorney, contact us in Pittsburgh at 412-626-5626 or in Philadelphia at 215-618-9185. We can also be reached by email at lawyer@lawkm.com. We represent clients in all counties in Pennsylvania.

EEOC Complaint Process

  1. Your Complaint will be Assigned to an Investigator

Once you file, an investigator will look into your case and gather as much information about it as possible. The investigator may contact you several times throughout the investigation to ask questions. The investigator may also offer you helpful tools (e.g., mediation) for resolving your case. The investigation can be lengthy, depending on the particulars of your case and how busy the EEOC is.

  1. The Investigator will make a Determination of the Merits of the Case

The EEOC will conclude its investigation and determine whether or not your case has merit.

  1. You will Receive a Dismissal and Notice of Rights OR Begin Conciliation

If the EEOC investigator was unable to find enough evidence to believe that your employer violated the law, your case will be dismissed and you will be given permission to file a lawsuit against your employer. Your employer will be notified.

If the EEOC investigator believes that your employer violated the law, you and your employer will receive a Letter of Determination stating so, and you will be asked to come together with the EEOC to resolve your case, a process known as conciliation.

If conciliation fails:

  • The EEOC will file a lawsuit against your employer


  • The EEOC will grant you a Notice of Right-to-Sue (“right to sue letter”) so that you can sue your employer on your own

Typically, it is left up to you and your employment attorney to bring the lawsuit.You will have 90 days to bring a lawsuit to court once you receive a right to sue letter.

EEOC Complaint: Right to Sue

The agency recognizes that the EEOC complaint process can take a significant amount of time. It could take several months or even years to fully investigate a complaint. If you plan to sue your employer and don’t want to wait that long, you can request a right to sue letter so that your case can be dismissed even before the investigation concludes. 180 days after filing the EEOC complaint, you can request a Notice of Right-to-Sue. Again, you only have 90 days to bring the lawsuit once the right to sue letter is granted.

An employment attorney can help you navigate this sometimes lengthy and complicated process. If you plan to sue your employer, an employment attorney can help you organize and prepare for a lawsuit. Don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.