What Is The EEOC And What Does It Do?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) prevents employment discrimination in three specific ways. The EEOC provides investigation into discrimination complaints, education to prevent discrimination, and guidance to the federal government on all aspects of equal employment. The vision of the EEOC is to see justice and equality in the workplace.
What Is The EEOC?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit employment discrimination. The EEOC strives to uphold these acts by investigating complaints of illegal discrimination against job applicants and employees by their employer.
What Does EEOC Do?
The EEOC investigates companies of 15 or more employees (age discrimination: 20 employees) who are covered by the law for discrimination complaints. Specific benefits are offered to those filing EEOC discrimination charge. If you have experienced discrimination in any one of the items below, you may want to sue for discrimination with EEOC.
- genetic information (having or carrying a gene mutation)
- sexual harassment (including pregnancy)
- sexual orientation
- national origin
- age (40 or older)
What Do I Do If I’ve Experienced Employment Discrimination?
Complain first within your company while beginning to document the discrimination.
If the response to your complaint is dissatisfactory, contact your company’s Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) counselor within 45 days of the act of discrimination. The EEO counselor will know your rights and responsibilities and will also suggest a course of action to informally settle the discrimination.
If the dispute is not settled informally, you may file a formal discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 15 days of receiving notice from your EEO counselor.
How Can An Attorney Help In An EEOC Complaint?
Having a guide for the process of filing a complaint will keep you knowledgeable of your rights and on top of the deadlines.
An employment attorney will be able to draft your complaint alongside you, focusing on facts that will aid the EEOC’s investigation of your complaint. More importantly, a thorough and detailed complaint prepares the path for filing a future lawsuit against your company. A lawsuit can only be filed based on information included in the complaint.
An employment lawyer, present for the EEOC mediation, will know whether or not a settlement offer from your employer is a good one and can advise you according to your best interests.
What Happens When You File An EEOC Complaint Against Employer?
The EEOC offers a specific set of guidelines to filing a formal complaint and requires timeliness in all procedures. Keep an eye on deadlines.
Once your company receives your formal discrimination complaint, the review process begins. If a complaint is dismissed, you can appeal the decision. When the complaint is not dismissed, it enters into the investigation stage with the EEOC assigning an investigator to your complaint.
Normally, the investigation is permitted to only take up to 180 days unless additional complaints are added to the original. Provide information where you can. Upon the completion of an investigation, you will be presented with two options: request a hearing or ask for a decision to determine if discrimination occurred.
Employer retaliation is illegal. Retaliation from your employer for your action of filing a complaint or participating in an investigation means you can file an EEOC retaliation complaint.
At any point during this process, your company, through mediation, may offer to settle your complaint voluntarily. You don’t have to take their settlement. If you do and the company fails to follow through, you have 30 days to notify the EEO director at your company.
I Received A Letter From The EEOC. What Does It Mean?
In most cases, the EEOC issues a letter to you rather than filing a lawsuit after completion of the investigation of your complaint and your employer. The EEOC has limited funding. Therefore, they do not pursue every complaint with a lawsuit, but they can advise you to pursue a lawsuit on your own. You may receive a Dismissal and Notice of Rights Letter, a Letter of Determination, or the Right to Sue Letter.
Dismissal and Notice of Rights letter – This letter means that the investigator failed to find proof of any unlawful discrimination. However, you may still choose to file a lawsuit in the federal court.
Letter of Determination – Both you and your employer will receive the notice of determination when the EEOC has determined that discrimination may have occurred. Informal settlement of the dispute will be encouraged at this stage.
Upon receiving a Right to Sue or Dismissal and Notice of Rights letter, you have 90 days to file a lawsuit. With such limitation on your time for filing, contact a discrimination attorney as soon as possible. This will allow your attorney to have as much time as possible to prepare to fight for your rights.
If you find yourself in the stressful situation of discrimination, let an employment lawyer fight for your rights. Contact us.