Charles R. Gueli, esq.
Charles R. Gueli, esq.
Personal Injury Attorney
Charles is a practicing attorney with over 20 years of experience in personal injury law. He was recently voted a SuperLawyer by Thomson Reuters, an exclusive honor bestowed on the top 5% of lawyers.
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State and federal laws can help you overcome discrimination in the workplace. Here are the 5 steps to making a successful workplace discrimination complaint.
Steps to Filing a Complaint
- 1. Identify the nature of the discrimination
- 2. File a complaint of discrimination
- 3. Cooperation with the EEOC response
- 4. Submit the EEOC's notice of your right to sue
- 5. Get compensated for discrimination
- 3 tips to win your case
The USA.Commission for Equal Opportunities in Employment(EEOC) enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an applicant or employee in the workplace. The EEOC has the power to investigate reports of employment practices by individuals who fall under anti-discrimination laws.
In addition to the federal government, all US states have enacted employment discrimination laws. Many states have laws similar to federal civil rights laws, with protections for additional classes of workers and stricter rules for employers.
Workers who are not covered by federal law can often exercise their rights through state or local antidiscrimination policies.
In the United States, one of the first laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace arose from aExecutive Order signed by President Roosevelt1941. Banned discrimination against war workers on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Actwas enacted in 1964 and prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on religion, skin colour, race, sex or national origin.
Today the law knows much moreforms of employee discrimination, depending on the type of employer and the nature of the discrimination.
Step 1: Identify the nature of discrimination in the workplace
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it unlawful to discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on:
- Gender (including pregnancy, gender identity orsexual orientation)
- national origin
- Age (over 40)
- Genetic information (e.g. family history)
The EEOC also enforces laws that protect workers who face retaliation for complaining about discrimination, making an allegation of discrimination, or participating in an investigation or judicial proceeding regarding discrimination in the workplace.
The EEOC generally covers claims affecting employers who employ 15 or more workers for at least 20 weeks in the current or previous year.
It can be difficult to find out if the EEOC covers an employer. So do not hesitate to contact an EEOC office or consult a lawyer.
Use it to find the EEOC office near youList of EEOC offices and map of jurisdictions.
Step 2: File a complaint of discrimination
You can bring an employment discrimination claim against a culpable employer under any of the laws enforced by the EEOC. However, before you bring a claim (other than a claim for equal pay), you must first bring a claim"Allegations of Discrimination".
allegations of discrimination
ONEallegations of discriminationis a written and signed declaration that an employer, union or labor organization is involved in discrimination in the workplace. The EOCC has a legal obligation to respond to your complaint.
Note the deadlines for filing a discrimination claim
In general, you only have 180 days from the date of discrimination to make a complaint to the EEOC. In certain circumstances, depending on the nature of the discrimination and the laws in your state, there may be an extension of time.
Federal employees and applicants only have 45 days and mustContact an agency EEOC advisorwithin this time.
Discrimination equal pay
Federal laws prohibit the payment of wages and benefits by gender, meaning men and women in the same job must be paid the same wages for the same work.All payment methods and services are covered, including bonuses, overtime, holiday pay and so on.
You can file a wage discrimination claim against your employer without first filing a discrimination claim with the EEOC. The time limit for filing an equal pay claim or EEOC discrimination charge is two years.
Fair occupational safety agencies
States and local jurisdictions (often large metropolitan areas) have their own antidiscrimination laws and enforcement agencies called Fair Employment Protection Agencies (FEPAs).
State and local laws will never be “easier” for a discriminatory employer than federal laws (Title VII). Your state may have specific employment laws that cover sexual harassment, marital status, marital status, and other types of unfair treatment in the workplace.
In fact, many states have stricter workplace discrimination laws that cover more areas of discrimination than are available in the EEOC. For example, Title VII does not cover discrimination based on medical condition, prison sentences, or military status. The state of California does.
Find your workplace in this tableState employment discrimination laws.
If you submit your discrimination allegation to the nearest FEPA, your allegation will automatically be 'duplicated' to the EEOC. You do not have to submit a separate application to a state authority and the federal government.
Remember, federal employees and candidates mustfollow a different complaints procedure.
Step 3: Cooperate with the EEOC's response
You are encouraged to do soSign up for the EEOC public portalfor easy online access to your case. You can use the portal to check status, upload documents to support your case, upload a letter of representation from your attorney, and more.
Employer note:Within ten days of your report, the EEOC will notify the employer of the discrimination report.
Investigation:The EEOC investigation can take several months and may involve on-site visits, interviews and requests for documents by the employer.
Mediation:Sometimes you and the employer will be asked to participate in mediation to try to resolve the issues.
Employer's response:If you do not have mediation or if mediation does not solve the problem, the employer will be asked to do so"Explaining the Defendant's Position"this is a written response to your allegations of discrimination.
You have access to a copy of the employer's response. You have 20 days from the date you receive a copy of the employer's response to submit your written response.
Case closed:If the EEOC decides to close your case, you will be notified. Your case may be closed if:
- You missed the deposit deadline
- The EEOC does not enforce laws applicable to the type of discrimination in your complaint
- The EEOC does not believe it can determine whether any law has been broken
Discrimination claims are risky and time sensitive. You are entitled to itAn experienced lawyer will process your claimfor the best result.
Step 4: File a lawsuit
EEOC notice of your right to sue
You do not have the right to bring a claim against your employer in federal court until you: aRight to Processing Noticei die EEOC.
You must be notified if your allegations of discrimination are based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin; or due to a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Typically, you must give the EEOC up to 180 days to resolve your complaint, although you can request that a Notice of Right to Complaint be issued sooner.
If the EEOC is unable to determine whether the employer broke the law, you will receive a notice of legal action.
You do not need a letter of omission for claims based on:
- Age:Complaints for violations of the Employment Age Discrimination Act (ADEA) can be filed 60 days after the EEOC Act is filed.
- Equivalent payment:You must file an Equal Pay Act (EPA) discrimination claim within two years from the date you received your last discriminatory paycheck.
If the EEOC is unable to determine that discrimination laws have been violated, you will receive a notice of legal action.
If the EEOC determines that a law may have been broken, it may:
- Try to come to terms with the employer. If settlement negotiations fail, EEOC will escalate the case to its Legal Department to determine whether EEOC should file a lawsuit on your behalf.
- Decide not to file a claim with the agency and issue a notice of right to sue so that you can file a claim yourself.
Case Study: EEOC Claim of Religious Discrimination
Samantha Elauf was a 17-year-old practicing Muslim who applied for a job at Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a headscarf, consistent with her religious beliefs.
Elauf was interviewed by an assistant store manager who deemed Elauf qualified for the job. The assistant manager asked her supervisors for clarification on the company's dress code and was advised not to hire Elauf because the company's look policy prohibits wearing hats at work.
The EEOC successfully sued Abercrombie & Fitch in a district court on behalf of Elauf. However, the ruling was later overturned by the district court on appeal, which found the store was not responsible because Elauf had failed to notify the store of her need for "religious housing."
The case eventually went to the US Supreme Court, which found that Elauf did not have to specifically seek an accommodation to receive protection under Title VII, which prohibits religious discrimination in hiring.
Elauf won her workplace discrimination case and her $20,000 award was reinstated.
Step 5: Get compensation for discrimination
Victims of discrimination in the workplace must reckon with thisreceive compensation, and sometimes punitive damages if the employer breaks the law.
punitive damagesare fines intended to punish the guilty employer for particularly malicious or outrageous acts of discrimination.
Compensation covers your actual losses, such asemotional suffering.
Your total compensation is limited by the size of the defaulting employer:
- For employers with 15 to 100 employees, the limit is $50,000
- For employers with 101-200 employees, the limit is $100,000
- For employers with 201-500 employees, the limit is $200,000
- For employers with more than 500 employees, the limit is $300,000
The amount of compensation awardedClass Actionsagainst large corporations are multiplied to reflect the number of victims of class discrimination.
Judgments for discrimination cases in state courts may permit higher limits of compensation, which include arrears of wages, compensatory damages and punitive damages.
Case Study: Class action lawsuit alleging sexual discrimination
Muriel Kraszewski was a California resident plaintiff in a class action lawsuit alleging that the State Farm Insurance Company discriminated against women in the workplace.
Kraszewski and several other women complained that State Farm practiced nationwide discrimination in the recruitment, hiring, and training of women for sales representative positions, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
At trial, the court ruled that the women who attempted to become sales representatives at State Farm were"They have been lied to, misinformed and discouraged in their efforts..."
Kraszewski and the class won the case. State Farm was forced to change its recruiting and hiring practices, and the class received $250 million in financial aid.
A successful claim for employment discrimination depends on good information and as much compelling evidence as you can gather to support your case.
1. Write everything down:get good gradeshelps you organize your thoughts and provides important information for your damage report.
Record your contact information, including your name, address, home and mobile numbers, email address, and any contact information about your employer that you can collect, including the company's website.
Write a description of the discrimination you have experienced, with dates and details of each incident. Be sure to include the name and title of any manager, human resources representative, or other person involved in the situation, even if they are not the individual responsible.
If there was more than one type of discrimination please list them all and provide details of what happened and who was involved.
2. Organize your paperwork:Retain copies of "Help Wanted" notices, payslips, employee reviews, employee handbooks, emails and other employer documents or notices. Yourorganized paperworkwill help support your claim.
3. Identify witnesses:You can speak to another employee to see if they are willing to provide a written statement describing what they know about the discrimination. Ask them to sign and date your testimony.
If you are afraid to speak to other employees, you can still write down the names of people you think know about the discrimination. Your attorney or the EEOC investigators need to know about potential witnesses or other victims of discrimination.
Lawyers protect your rights
Complaints about discrimination in the workplace are extremely complicated, technical and stressful. It is very difficult to win your case, let alone get fair compensation, when trying to represent yourself in state or federal courts.
You can be sure that the lawyer represents the employer and if you are dealing with a large company, he will stand behind a team of lawyers and experts. The more money involved, the more they will fight.
if you have anyReason to sue your employer, you should speak to an employment lawyer. Most attorneys offer a free consultation and agree to represent you on a contingency fee basis, which means they won't get paid until you get a financial settlement or court judgment.
Don't let professional discrimination get you down. Find out how an employment lawyer can help protect your legal rights and get you the compensation you deserve.
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