If you are preparing to file a charge of discrimination against your employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you might wonder what will happen. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can walk you through the process so that you have a better idea of what you might expect.
What happens after you file a discrimination charge?
After the EEOC receives your charge, your employer will be notified. Your charge may then be handled in one of several ways, including the following:
- If the facts of what happened appear to indicate that the law was violated, your charge may be prioritized for investigation;
- The EEOC may try to settle your charge at any time if both you and your employer are interested;
- During its investigation, the EEOC may send requests for information in writing, conduct interviews, review evidence, and visit the location where the discrimination occurred;
- If you and your employer agree, your charge may be assigned to mediation;
- The EEOC may dismiss your charge if it determines that investigating further will not find a law violation; and
- If your charge is dismissed, you will receive a notice of your right to file a lawsuit against your employer.
How your charge might be resolved by the EEOC
If the EEOC finds that the evidence it finds during its investigation doesn’t support a law violation, it will explain this to you. You will then receive a notice that the EEOC is closing its case and that you will have 90 days to file a lawsuit on your own behalf.
If the EEOC finds that discrimination has happened, both you and your employer will receive a letter that explains the agency’s finding. The EEOC will then work with the employer to try to reach a remedy for it through a process called conciliation. If your case reaches a settlement or is successfully mediated, you will not be able to file a lawsuit unless the terms of the settlement agreement or mediated agreement are not honored by your employer.
If the agency is not able to conciliate your case, it will make a decision on whether to file a lawsuit on your behalf in federal court. If it decides not to do so, it will send you a notice that it is closing your case and that you have 90 days to file a lawsuit.
When can you file a discrimination lawsuit?
You may file a lawsuit in federal court up to 90 days after you receive your notice from the EEOC of your right to sue. If your discrimination charge falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you are allowed to ask for a right to sue letter from the EEOC if 180 days have passed since you filed your charge. You may then file a lawsuit with 90 days after you receive the notice. If your discrimination charge falls under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, you are allowed to file a lawsuit whenever you want if 60 days have elapsed since you filed your discrimination charge. However, if you receive a notice of your right to sue, you must file your lawsuit within 90 days of your receipt of it. Charges that fall under the Equal Pay Act allow you to file a lawsuit within two years after the action occurred or three years if the conduct was willful.
If unlawful discrimination is found, you may receive the following remedies:
- Back pay
- Reasonable accommodations
- Front pay
- Other remedies to make you whole
- Expert witness fees
- Attorney’s fees
- Court costs
If the discrimination was intentional, you may also receive compensatory and punitive damages. Your employer may be required to advise their employees of their rights and to address a charge’s violations by posting accessible notices at the workplace. Your employer may also be ordered to take corrective measures so that the recurrence of the discrimination is prevented.
Contact Swartz Swidler
If you believe that your employer has engaged in unlawful discrimination against you, it is important for you to understand your legal rights. For a free case analysis, contact Swartz Swidler to schedule an appointment.