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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was created in 1964 to enforce laws that make it illegal to discriminate against someone applying for a job or an employee because of their race, color, religion, sex which includes pregnancy, gender identity or sexual orientation, national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic information.

The laws of this commission cover all work situations including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages and benefits. The EEOC has the power to investigate any accusations of discrimination against employers subject to the law. They both investigate employee complaints of discrimination and mediate resolutions between employees and employers. 

All potential cases of covered discrimination start with a charge by the employee. The EEOC investigates the charges and will issue its determination. An employee may sue their employer once the EEOC issues a “right to sue” letter, which may be issued prior to the end of the investigation. A charge must be filed and a right to sue letter must be issued before an employee can pursue a discrimination lawsuit in Federal court. 

Important deadlines to remember:

  • An employee must report and file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of the occurrence. The 180-calendar day filing deadline is extended to 300 calendar days if a state or local agency enforces a law that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis.
  • After receipt of a right to sue letter, the employee has 90 days to file a lawsuit. The 90-day limit is strict and no extensions will be granted.
  • It is important that these procedures are correctly followed in order to protect an employee’s claims and rights. 

An experienced employment lawyer should be immediately consulted should an employee feel they have been discriminated against.

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