If you are within a protected class of people, it is likely that you will have grounds to file a complaint over discriminatory behavior in the workplace at some point in your working life. While the workplace may eventually grow into a fair, professional environment for all people, it is still full of poor behavior by employers and other individuals. They do not understand that their behavior is unacceptable or do not care to change once they do understand.
Whenever you suffer discrimination in the workplace, it is always wise to consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC investigates charges of discrimination and recommends remedies if and when it finds evidence of discrimination. Unfortunately, while many people understand that it is possible to file a complaint with the EEOC, they are unclear about how the process works and what they should expect from it.
If you believe that you have grounds for a formal complaint to the EEOC, you should examine the details of your experience and seek legal counsel. A well-built legal strategy helps keep your rights secure while you fight to create a more just workplace for yourself and others.
The process of filing a complaint with the EEOC
When you experience discrimination at work, you must generally file a complaint within 180 days of the violation. File the complaint, called a charge, with the EEOC office nearest where you live and work.
Once you file, the EEOC sends an official notice to your employer informing them of the charges. The EEOC then investigates the complaints to determine if there is legal cause to justify your allegations. Depending on the findings of the EEOC, it may issue you a “right to sue” letter or recommend another path to resolution.
The resolution to these charges is complicated, and may go in a number of directions depending on the findings that the EEOC reports. For a clear understanding of the likely outcomes of your particular circumstances, it is wise to consider qualified legal counsel that can speak directly to your experience.
Protecting your rights in an uncertain environment
Your experience in the workplace matters, whether the grounds for your complaint are justified or the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding. If you feel that your rights within your workplace are not properly valued, then you should always consider the options that you have to help create a more just and functional workplace.