Employment Discrimination Lawyers‘ Response: How do I get help filing a race discrimination claim with the EEOC? When should I file a gender discrimination charge with the EEOC? Should I file a charge with the EEOC because my boss discriminates against me because I’m Muslim?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“) is a well intentioned government office filled with well intentioned government workers. Most of these government workers probably truly believe that they are trying to make a difference and doing the best that they can do. However, as our employment discrimination attorneys have previously blogged about, the EEOC process is extremely slow, overly bureaucratic, and contains a bunch of technical requirements, with the possibility that one misstep may doom an employment discrimination or wrongful termination claim. (See Should I File With the EEOC or Should I Get My Own Lawyer?, Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me File an EEOC Charge?, Do Not File With the EEOC Without Doing This First; Age Discrimination Plaintiffs Beware: Filing an EEOC Charge May Prevent You From Filing Your Age Discrimination Claim in Court).
If you believe you have been discriminated against based your race/color, religion, gender/sex, national origin, age, or disability, you can file a complaint against your employer with the EEOC free of charge. However, in 2014 (the most recent data available), the EEOC only filed 167 employment lawsuits nationwide. This is a shockingly small number considering that there were 2,893 employment charges filed in Ohio alone and 88,950 employment charges filed nationwide. What happens to the rest of the charges file? In a vast majority of these cases, the employee merely receives a right to sue letter after waiting for upwards of years. Then when the EEOC punts and send an employee a right to sue letter, that employee must then scramble to find and choose the best private employment discrimination attorney, get that attorney up to speed, and file suit – all within 180 days! (See How Long Do I Have To File With The EEOC?).
But, without the help of a qualified employment lawyer up to that point, you may have unwittingly forfeited some or all of your claims. One of the many ways to harm your ability to sue your boss and/or employer is by not including enough information in the EEOC charge. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas recently examined this issue in Sheppard v. Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd.. The employee filed an employment discrimination charge with the EEOC and, in response to the question “what is the reason for your claim of employment discrimination?” the employee checked the boxes for Age, Disability, and Retaliation. However, when the employee went on to describe the discrimination by his manager, he focused on the disability aspect. The overwhelmed EEOC investigators never followed up with any investigation related to the age discrimination claim. The employer argued that the employee did not exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to the age claim. However, the court explained that to exhaust his remedies, the employee only needed to timely file the charge, and when he gets the right to sue letter, timely file the lawsuit. Thus, the employee was allowed to proceed with his lawsuit for age discrimination. Other courts have decided this issue differently. Had the employee not checked the “age” box, he would not have been allowed to proceed with his age discrimination claim. Most people think that the initial charge form is just a procedural start to the EEOC process, and that it be updated or changed later. This is not necessarily true. Mistakes even at this initial filing point can kill your employment discrimination claims. That is why it is important, even if you are filing an EEOC charge, to call the right attorney first.
If you are searching “I need a lawyer because I have been wrongfully fired or terminated;” or “I have been discriminated against based on my …” race, national origin, gender, age, religion or disability; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at (216) 291-4744. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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