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I Received a Letter of Determination From the EEOC. What Should I Do?

New York City Attorneys Assisting Victims of Employment Discrimination

Most people who file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are dealing with discrimination, harassment, or retaliation at work. The EEOC is a federal agency that administers and enforces civil rights laws related to workplace discrimination. These are laws that cover certain characteristics, such as race, color, national origin, disability, religion, pregnancy, and genetic information. If you filed a charge regarding workplace discrimination with the EEOC, and you receive a Letter of Determination, you may be wondering what you should do. You can consult a New York City EEOC lawyer at Phillips & Associates about your options.

I received a Letter of Determination from the EEOC. What Should I Do?

The EEOC has a lot of responsibilities with regard to charges of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. It investigates the charges that it receives. The investigation will involve asking both the employee and the employer to provide information. An EEOC investigator evaluates the information and determines whether there is probable cause to believe that illegal discrimination occurred. The employer can be asked to submit a position statement and respond to a request for information that in turn asks the employer to submit personnel policies, allow an on-site visit, and give contact information for witness interviews.

When the EEOC finishes its investigation, it will make a determination about the charge’s merits. If it decides that the information that it found in the course of investigating your charge does not establish a violation of a law, you will be issued a letter known as a Dismissal and Notice of Rights. Receiving this letter means that you are entitled to file a lawsuit in federal or state court within 90 days of receiving the letter. The employer also will receive this letter.

However, if the EEOC decides that there is probable cause to believe that there was discrimination, both parties are issued a Letter of Determination, advising that there is reason to think that discrimination happened. This Letter of Determination says that the employee and the employer can come to the agency to try to settle the charge through a process known as conciliation.

What is Conciliation?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex, the EEOC must engage in conciliation to try to resolve a charge before it can bring an enforcement action against the employer. During conciliation, the employer and the EEOC can negotiate how the employer could alter its practices and policies to comply with Title VII, as well as deciding how much in damages might be paid to you. There may be counter-offers made.

Conciliation is voluntary and confidential. Both the employee and the employer need to agree to the resolution. Neither of them can be forced to accept settlement terms. It is considered an effective and cost-efficient way to resolve employment discrimination claims. Sometimes it is possible to achieve a private settlement even before conciliation is underway. It is critical to discuss this option with an attorney who can advise you on whether conciliation is an appropriate way to handle your claim.

When conciliation does not work, however, the EEOC will need to determine whether to sue the employer in court. Factors that go into the EEOC determination include the severity of the legal violation, the legal issues in the case, the broader impact on efforts to fight workplace discrimination, and the availability of resources for effective litigation of the matter.

Consult an Experienced Employment Lawyer

If you received a Letter of Determination from the EEOC, you should discuss the matter with an experienced employment litigator who understands how to apply the law to your unique situation and can assess how strong your evidence is or would likely be with discovery and litigation. The experienced attorneys at Phillips & Associates may be able to help. We can be reached at (212) 248-7431 or contacted via our online form. We represent clients in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx, as well as Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

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