If you have a claim for employment discrimination, you might wonder how long your case will take. Employment discrimination cases can be complex, and how long your claim might take will depend on multiple factors. The length of your case will depend on the experience and skill of your attorney, the particular details of your case, and whether your claim must be filed with a government agency before you can file a lawsuit. Depending on the factors of your particular case, your employment discrimination claim could take from two to three years. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler can review your claim and explain more about what you might expect.
Factors that affect the length of an employment discrimination case
One of the primary factors that can determine the length of a discrimination case is deadlines. If your claim requires you to work with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you will be required to meet specific deadlines or run the risk of not having the opportunity to have your claim investigated and heard.
Most federal discrimination cases must be commenced by filing charges with the EEOC before they can be litigated in court. One exception to this rule is a violation of equal pay under the Equal Pay Act. If people intend to pursue their claims under state laws, most states likewise require that the claims are filed with a state agency before they can be litigated in court.
EEOC deadlines and timelines
In general, you must file a discrimination charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the last act of discrimination. In many cases, the deadline can be extended to 300 days if there is a similar state law that prohibits the same type of conduct.
Under the law, the EEOC must send a notice of its determination no more than 180 days after the charge was filed. The agency may send a notice of a right to sue, which grants the employee the right to file a lawsuit within 90 days.
Duration of an employment discrimination lawsuit
After a lawsuit has been filed by your attorney, your employer will then be given time to file an answer. This time to answer may be from 30 to 60 days and will depend on the procedural rules of the court where the lawsuit is filed. After your employer files its response, the case will enter a period of time called discovery. During the discovery period, both parties can gather evidence to support their cases and must exchange evidence with each other.
The length of the discovery process will depend on the court’s procedural rules and could last up to 7 months in some cases. During this time period, the sides may depose witnesses, and they may be ordered to try to mediate a settlement. If an agreement is not reached, the case will be scheduled for a trial.
The defense might attempt to end the case after the discovery period by filing a motion for summary judgment. If the motion is granted, the case will end. If the motion is denied, the case will go to trial.
Trial, Post-trial and appeals
By the time an employment discrimination claim goes to trial, two years could have easily passed. After the trial is over, both parties will be granted time to file post-trial motions. The losing party normally will file a motion after trial to try to have the court change its outcome. This might include moving the court to set aside the jury’s verdict or to schedule a new trial.
If the losing party files an appeal, the appeals process can make the case last for numerous years. Filing an appeal starts the phase in the court of appeals. The appellate courts have their own deadlines and procedural rules. After the appeals court rules, both parties have the right to file additional motions or to appeal to a higher court, which could each cause more time to pass.
Contact an experienced employment law attorney at Swartz Swidler
It is clear that employment discrimination cases are complex and may take a lengthy period of time to resolve. It is important for employees who have been the victims of discrimination to talk to experienced employment lawyers so that they can understand their rights and what they might expect during and after the process. Contact Swartz Swidler today to schedule a consultation.