If you are facing discrimination at the workplace, filing a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a prerequisite step to filing a lawsuit. In dealing with the EEOC, it is important to have an experienced New York EEOC representation attorney on your side.THE EEOC ENFORCES FEDERAL DISCRIMINATION LAWS
Most forms of workplace discrimination - including racial discrimination, gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, and age discrimination - are prohibited by federal law. In order to bring a discrimination claim against an employer under federal law, the employee must first file a claim with the EEOC. The EEOC was formed in 1964 as an independent government body to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and additional laws against discrimination also fall within its jurisdiction. If an EEOC claim is not filed first, an aggrieved worker cannot seek relief in federal court.HOW AN EEOC CLAIM WORKS
If you believe you are the victim of discrimination, it is important to act quickly. The EEOC requires that any claim of discrimination be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the discriminatory act. This creates a small window of time in which to file a claim, although it may be extended where there is ongoing harassment and in certain other circumstances. The charge of discrimination is filed with the local EEOC office. The employee can file the charge herself, or can hire an attorney to file the charge instead.
The EEOC will then investigate the alleged discrimination, and notify the employer of the charge. The investigation may be cursory, or it may be thorough, involving interviews, review of employer documents, and site visits. If the EEOC finds that discrimination has occurred, it will attempt to have the employer remedy the discrimination through a process called conciliation. If it cannot conciliate the case successfully, the EEOC may sue the employer in federal court, or it may close the case and notify the employee. If the EEOC does not find that discrimination has occurred, it will dismiss the charge and notify the employee.
Once the EEOC has formally dismissed the charge, the employee has the option to then file a lawsuit in federal court. The EEOC's dismissal should not be seen as a reflection of the merits of the claim, but rather as opening the courthouse doors so the plaintiff can proceed with her claim. Further prosecution of the case, including civil discovery procedures, can turn up evidence that the EEOC did not discover or consider.EEOC MEDIATION
The EEOC also has a mediation program as an alternative for resolving discrimination claims. Once a charge of discrimination is received, the EEOC can refer the charge to mediation if both parties agree. Mediation is an informal way to attempt to resolve the charge, using an independent mediator with experience in this area of the law. Mediation avoids the cost and delay of a lengthy investigation, and can allow the parties to work creatively to fashion a remedy that is mutually acceptable. If mediation is not successful, the charge proceeds like any other charge of discrimination.PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES: EXPERIENCED EEOC REPRESENTATION LAWYERS
Throughout EEOC proceedings, it is very helpful to be represented by a New York EEOC representation lawyer. An attorney can provide important assistance in portraying your claims in the best light, presenting helpful facts to the EEOC, and cutting through bureaucratic red tape. If you are willing to pursue your claim through litigation in federal court, it makes good sense to involve an experienced discrimination attorney from the outset. The attorneys at Phillips & Associates have substantial employment discrimination experience, including numerous EEOC proceedings. We are here to help. Contact us today at (212) 248-7431.
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