Discrimination ] Title VII ] Sexual Orientation Discrimination ] Harassment ] Age Discrimination ] Disability Discrimination ] Wrongful Termination ] [ The E.E.O.C. and State Agencies ]

The E.E.O.C and State Agencies

If an employee wants the protection of the federal laws, s/he must file a charge of discrimination or harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (E.E.O.C.), within 180 days of the last occurrence of the discrimination or harassment. (In some states, where the EEOC has a sharing relationship with the state agency, the deadline may be 300 days. However, to assure that a claim is timely, it is better to always observe the 180 limitation).

The EEOC then has 6 months to investigate the charge, and attempt to resolve it. It may hold a "fact-finding meeting," which is really a mediation session. The intent of the EEOC officer is to try to reach a settlement between the parties.

The EEOC officer is an impartial mediator. S/he does not side with either party. S/he does not represent either party. Either or both parties may bring an attorney to the fact-finding, however, the attorney serves as an advisor only.

At the end of the six months, the EEOC will issue a finding of either "probable cause," "no probable cause," or it will release the claim without a finding. In any case, it will issue a "Right To Sue" letter, which gives the claimant permission to file a private claim in federal court. This action must be filed within 90 days of the date of the Right To Sue letter.

Many states have their own state agencies, which administer their state laws in the same way that the EEOC administers the federal law. In Pennsylvania, the state agency is the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, (PHRC). Filing with either the EEOC or the PHRC automatically cross-files the claim with the other. The PHRC has 1 year to investigate the claim. Otherwise, it acts in exactly the same way as the EEOC.

In New Jersey, the state agency is the New Jersey Civil Rights Commission. However, there is no requirement under NJ state law to go through the agency first. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination is actually a stronger law than the federal law, so most claimants use the state law, and file in state court, without going through either agency.

You should consult with an attorney in your state, to learn about your state law and its filing requirements. If you suspect that you have a claim, and you want to pursue it, DO NOT WAIT to consult an attorney. As mentioned above, there are certain time deadlines you must meet, or else you forfeit your claim FOREVER. PERIOD.

Discrimination ] Title VII ] Sexual Orientation Discrimination ] Harassment ] Age Discrimination ] Disability Discrimination ] Wrongful Termination ] [ The E.E.O.C. and State Agencies ]

DISCLAIMER: This website is intended to give general information on a very complicated area of the law.  None of the information in this website is to be construed as legal advice; it is for informational purposes only.  No information provided in this website, or communications made over its affiliated e-mail address, is to be considered as having created an attorney-client relationship. The materials provided in this website provide summaries only.  Employment law cases are very fact-intensive and fact-sensitive.  An evaluation of an actual case requires an extensive discussion of the specific facts and a thorough evaluation based on those facts and the applicable law.