How to File a Discrimination LawsuitThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency in charge of administrating various national employment laws, including ones that protect employees from discrimination. An EEOC complaint must be filed prior to pursuing a discrimination lawsuit against your employer.
Do Not Delay Your FilingIt is important to note that there are certain timelines that need to be followed when filing an employment discrimination complaint. According to the EEOC, in Florida, you need to file a charge within 300 calendar days from the day the discrimination took place. Many states across the country also have their own laws that will allow an extension of that 300 days. The Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) does allow up to 365 days for filing an employment discrimination complaint, but it is advised to file the claim as soon as possible.
Filing an EEOC ComplaintThe EEOC allows employees several different ways to file a discrimination claim against an employer. These include:
- Online — through the EEOC’s public portal
- In-person — at a local EEOC field office
- By telephone — get the process started then file a claim later if the situation covered by the law
- By mail — ensuring all appropriate information is included
What Information Do You Need?There are many types of information that can be provided for filing a discrimination complaint. This can include:
- Documentation of illegal behavior such as harassing language — including dates, times, what was said directly to you (or communicated by phone or electronically), and names of any witnesses that were present at the time
- Any performance evaluations and company human resource policies and handbooks, and applications for promotions
- Pay stubs and schedules
- Copies of any offensive jokes, stories, or comments that were sent to you via email, text messages, apps, or hard copy
What Happens Next?Once the EEOC complaint is filed, an investigation will be performed. They may request additional information and documentation. If the EEOC cannot resolve the claim, you will have a period of 90 days to file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer once the EEOC issues a right to sue letter.
EEOC MediationIn many cases, mediation can occur during the EEOC process. An employment attorney can speed up the frequently slow process and maximize the recovery for the discrimination claim. The primary goal of mediation is to come to a resolution between the two parties. The mediation process requires skill and employment law knowledge to achieve an optimum outcome.
Relief and Remunerations for EmployeesDepending on your particular claim or lawsuit, employees that have a proven claim or case of discrimination may receive:
- Lost wages
- Compensatory damages
- Back pay
- Damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, or other intangible injuries
- Punitive damages up to $100,000
Courts may also issue a specific order prohibiting the discriminatory practice by the employer that occurred in your case, protecting other employees from the practice in the future.
Relief and remuneration can vary widely on a case by case basis. Understanding how to file a discrimination lawsuit that is comprehensive and forceful increases the likelihood of an optimum outcome.
Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. is an employee rights law firm working for justice for employees across Florida that have been discriminated against. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we only charge fees when cases end in favor of our clients.Contact us today to set up a free consultation.