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

New York City Attorneys for Gender Discrimination Claims

If you believe that you have been sexually harassed in your workplace, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination that is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which is enforced by the EEOC. With all laws enforced by the EEOC, including Title VII, you must file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC before filing an employment discrimination lawsuit against your employer. If you are planning to file a charge with the EEOC, the New York City sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates can assist you.

The Role of a Lawyer in Representing Employees Before the EEOC

You should consult an attorney as soon as possible about filing your sexual harassment complaint with the EEOC. If you do not file an EEOC charge, you cannot sue for relief in federal court. Filing the complaint is a prerequisite. Time limits apply to filing a charge and filing a lawsuit. You must file your claim of harassment with the EEOC within 180 days of the misconduct. Your EEOC charge can affect your lawsuit, so it is important to have an experienced attorney fighting for your rights.

Your attorney can file the charge of discrimination with your local EEOC office. While you can also file the charge on your own, sexual harassment is a sensitive complaint with the potential to trigger retaliation, and it may be difficult for you to understand, as a layperson, what constitutes harassment under the law. To improve your chances of receiving a positive result from the EEOC charge, you should retain an experienced attorney who can monitor the investigation and also develop appropriate strategies in case it becomes advisable to go to mediation or file a lawsuit.

Once the charge is filed, the EEOC will investigate and notify the employer that a charge has been filed. The EEOC will interview witnesses, review documents, and possibly visit the workplace. The process of investigation and how long it will take depends on the particular facts of the case. Among other things, it will depend on how much information must be collected. It can take about six months to investigate, but sometimes the process can go more quickly.

Mediation and the EEOC

The EEOC may try to mediate the charge between the employee and the employer. Mediation at the EEOC is a meeting between the parties whereby the EEOC meditator will work to facilitate a settlement. If mediation is successful, the employer will pay money to settle the claim and the parties will enter into a settlement agreement.

Additionally, if the EEOC determines there has been sexual harassment, it may try to have the employer fix the problem through conciliation. The EEOC may sue the employer in federal court if conciliation is not possible, or it might close the case, leaving you the opportunity to file your own lawsuit.

The EEOC may dismiss your case even if you have a legitimate basis for claiming sexual harassment. You should not let that dissuade you. Only after the EEOC dismissal can you file a federal sexual harassment lawsuit in court. In many cases, we can help you find more substantial evidence of harassment through civil discovery than what the EEOC was able to find. Civil discovery may include written interrogatories (questions) and depositions of witnesses to the harassment.

The employer and you may wish to go to mediation through an EEOC referral. Mediation can be a sound approach to your claim. You should be aware that your employer will likely be represented by counsel at mediation, and it is important that you also be represented to enhance your chances of settling on an appropriate remedy.

Consult a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in New York City

The New York City sexual harassment attorneys at Phillips & Associates can help you file a charge with the EEOC. We offer victims of discriminatory employers tenacious, knowledgeable representation at all stages of these proceedings. Call us at (866) 229-9441 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We represent victims of sexual harassment throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Staten Island, Long Island and Westchester.

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