Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Discrimination Complaint With the EEOC?

Employment Law Attorneys Serving New York City Workers

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created to enforce federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). These laws make it illegal to discriminate against someone with a certain characteristic protected by law, or to retaliate against someone for complaining about the discrimination. These anti-discrimination laws cover most employers with 15 or more employees, with the exception of the ADEA, which applies to employers with 20 employees. If you want to file a complaint with the EEOC, the New York City employment discrimination lawyers at Phillips & Associates are available to represent you during this process.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Discrimination Complaint with the EEOC?

Technically, you do not need an attorney to file a discrimination complaint with the EEOC. However, it is wise to retain legal counsel. Your employer is most likely receiving advice from an attorney, and an attorney of your own can help ensure that the EEOC takes your complaint seriously. Your lawyer also can represent you at a conciliation or mediation as appropriate. Moreover, the sooner an attorney is involved in your case, the better he or she will be able to strategize about how to collect evidence to prove your claims.

The charge can be filed at the EEOC office closest to your home or at any of the field offices. It will likely be investigated at the EEOC office closest to where the discrimination happened. Where the discrimination occurred determines how long you have to file your charge. The 180-day calendar filing deadline is standard, but it is extended to 300 calendar days if there is a state or local agency to enforce a state or local anti-discrimination law that covers the same subject. The rules regarding filing deadlines can be complicated, which is another reason why it is important to consult an attorney right away.

Once your charge is filed, the EEOC will investigate your charge of discrimination against a covered employer. Its goal is to assess your allegations and make findings. When it finds that discrimination has occurred, it tries to settle the charge. In the event that it is not successful, it may file a lawsuit to protect your interests as well as those of the public. However, in many cases, the EEOC does not file a lawsuit on your behalf, even when it does find discrimination. Moreover, an EEOC investigation that does not turn up sufficient evidence does not necessarily mean that you do not have a viable basis for filing a lawsuit.

If the EEOC does not have jurisdiction over the charge or it is untimely, the charge will be closed. The charge may also be closed if the EEOC determines it will not be able to find discrimination. This can occur if you have not stated facts that give rise to a discrimination charge in your paperwork. One way to avoid this is by retaining an attorney to help you sort out the facts and include the pertinent information. If the EEOC does not find discrimination, or it decides not to file a lawsuit on your behalf, you will be sent a Notice of Right to Sue, which allows you to sue in federal court.

Contact an Experienced Employment Discrimination Lawyer in New York City

The New York City employment discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help you file a charge with the EEOC or take any other legal action that may be appropriate. We offer experienced representation and sound advice to victims of unlawful conduct in the workplace, such as people who need a sexual harassment lawyer to assert their rights. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We represent employees throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester.

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