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How to File an Employment Discrimination Claim with the EEOC

Posted on May 27, 2020 in Hostile Work Environment

Under United States law, your employer cannot fire you due to your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. In addition, discrimination cannot play a role in an employer’s hiring or promotion factors.

If you suspect an Illinois employer has discriminated against you on the basis of one of the protected classes, you may file an employment discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). To file an EEOC claim, you will need to take the following steps.

How to File an Employment Discrimination Claim with the EEOC

Step #1: Schedule an Inquiry

You will need to contact an EEOC counselor to schedule an inquiry before filing your official charge. This inquiry will help the EEOC determine whether or not your claim may involve discrimination and whether or not you should proceed with an official charge.

Step #2: File an Official Charge with the EEOC

After the inquiry, you have 300 days from the first discriminatory action by your employer to file an official charge with the EEOC. This is a signed statement that asserts the employer engaged in an act of employment discrimination. You can submit this paperwork online, in person, or through the mail.

Before filing your claim, it is helpful to compile all information related to the discriminatory act. You will need to include a detailed description of the discrimination, as well as the information of the person or people who committed the act. Having this information will help you complete the application.

Step #3: Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution Options

Prior to the investigation process, the EEOC may offer you alternative dispute resolution options to discuss your claim with your employer and reach a potential settlement. It is optional to both you and your employer to engage in mediation.

Step #4: Enter the EEOC Investigation Process

If you and your employer do not settle the dispute in mediation or if one or both parties refuse to engage in mediation, you will enter the EEOC investigation process. During the investigation, the EEOC will determine whether or not discrimination occurred in your case.

During this process, you and your employer may need to compile evidence, attend a hearing, and hear each side’s arguments. If the EEOC discovers discrimination played a role in your case, the investigators will approach your employer and try to negotiate a voluntary settlement.

If your employer refuses to settle, the EEOC will either file a lawsuit on your behalf or provide you with a Notice of Right to Sue. The Notice allows you to file a lawsuit against your employer within 90 days.

Step #5: Appeal the EEOC Decision, If Necessary

Not all EEOC claims result in a positive outcome for the employee. If the EEOC finds that no discrimination occurred in your claim, you may appeal the decision. You have 30 days from the date of the decision to file this appeal.

Do You Need an Attorney to Help with an EEOC Claim?

If you believe your employer terminated your position for a discriminatory reason, you may be eligible to file a claim with the EEOC. However, navigating this process can be difficult alone.

Hiring an Illinois employment lawyer to assist you with your EEOC claim can provide a multitude of benefits for your case. Your attorney can help guide you through the claims process, informing you how to prepare for each step and ensuring your paperwork is complete and free of errors.

Contact an employment attorney today to schedule your free consultation and discuss whether or not your case qualifies for EEOC action.