Have you experienced discrimination, retaliation, or harassment at work? Are you considering filing a claim with the EEOC? Before you do, it’s important to understand the EEOC process and what to expect.
At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A., we understand the difficulties employees face when confronting workplace discrimination. To help alleviate some of your concerns, we have answered some important questions as they relate to filing a complaint with the EEOC and the process. Should you need further assistance, contact our office today to schedule a free, confidential consultation.
Filing an EEOC Complaint
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles claims of discrimination and retaliation against employers in the United States. To take legal actions against an employer for discrimination, you must first file a claim with the EEOC. However, this is not the case when filing a complaint of discrimination in wages and benefits. When filing an EEOC claim, time is of the essence.
If you choose to file an EEOC claim, you can submit it in person or at a local EEOC office, by mail, or online. You can also begin the process over the phone. It is also important to note that you do not have to quit your job or be fired to file an EEOC claim. In fact, you can still be employed and file a complaint against your employer.
Be sure to have any documentation, such as emails, recordings, and/or letters, to help prove your claim of discrimination against your employer. The EEOC is not going to take your word for it. As your employer will come fully prepared to protect themselves, you must do the same.
When dealing with the EEOC, having an employment discrimination attorney on your side is crucial. They can help guide you through every step of the process and can ensure your rights are adequately represented and protected.
After You File
After you file, it can be a bit of a waiting game. The EEOC takes time to decide the outcome of claims. As with many claims that are filed, a representative at the organization will assign a mediator — inviting the parties to engage in mediation to resolve the complaint. Mediation with the EEOC is a voluntary process. An employment discrimination attorney can assist in speeding up the process and maximizing your recovery.
Having an experienced employment law attorney on your side during EEOC mediation can be very effective, especially when it comes to the outcome of your complaint. Results of mediation can include a policy change, and in typical cases, a financial settlement from the employer is also included.
Proving an EEOC Claim
There are basically three main areas that need to be covered to prove your case after filing an EEOC claim. These are important in both mediation and litigation (if the claim is not resolved and a legal case is filed). Here are the areas to focus on to prove your claim:
Motivations for discrimination can be hard to talk about – and challenging to establish. Many states, including Florida, are designated as an “at-will” state where employers can fire employees for any reason. But that is any reason that is not illegal. Discrimination is illegal, and employers should be held accountable for it.
Motive may be easily proven if the employer is upfront about discriminating against you because of your:
- nationality, or
- other class protected by federal law
It is actually more common than you think. If you have documentation (email, voicemail, memos, texts, messages, evaluations, etc.) with sexist, racist, ageist or other discriminatory language, make sure to save them.
Employers should be treated equally. Often, and unfortunately, they are not. Have you been unable to take your religious holidays off but another employee of a different religion has? This is an example of inequality in the workplace.
It is also important to document instances of inequality. Do you have copies of work schedules? Keep them. Do you have copies of denials from your manager or scheduler when you were requesting religious holidays off? Keep those too. Any and all documentation serves to accumulate the evidence to prove your claim.
A “Neutral” Policy that Discriminates
A “neutral” policy that is discriminating can be, for example, requiring applicants to do something that is not necessarily applicable to the job they are applying for. This could be used to, say, discriminate against women or people with disabilities by requiring very heavy lifting to get considered for the job. Candidates for jobs, as well as current employees, have the ability to file an EEOC claim.
Popular Reasons for Mediation
Mediation has several benefits. One of the popular reasons is because it is a confidential process. It is strictly between you and your employer and any mediators or lawyers present. Cost is another factor because the EEOC will provide a mediator for free. A mediator acts as a neutral party to resolve a conflict. They are strictly neutral, not coming into the claim to be on one side or the other.
If you have your own employment law attorney during EEOC mediation to help prove your case, you are much more likely to get a fair and equitable settlement. An employment attorney fights for the rights of employees every day and has the experience and expertise to represent you well.
File An EEOC Claim with A Florida Employment Law Attorney
Knowing what to expect when filing an EEOC claim is the first step. This gives you the initial information you need to be prepared for the next steps, including mediation. Whether you are still being discriminated against at work or have been fired because you made a complaint to your direct supervisor, your manager, or even your human resources officer, it is important to consult with an employment law attorney to discuss your best options. The employment lawyers at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa P.A. understand the strategy and perspective of employers — to fight hard and skillfully for employees in EEOC mediation.Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Don’t sit across from your employer alone. We are here to help with your EEOC claim.