If you are discriminated against at work based on something such as your religion, ethnicity, age or sex you may feel humiliated and afraid for your job and livelihood. Work may become intolerable, but you do have options if you are discriminated against in the workplace. One option is to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
What is a charge of discrimination?
If you are discriminated against at work and you fall under one of several protected categories, you may want to file a charge of discrimination. This is a signed statement filed with the EEOC stating you were discriminated against in the workplace and asking the EEOC to take steps to remedy the situation.
After you file your charge, the EEOC will inform your employer of the charge. Sometimes the EEOC requires you and your employer to try mediating your dispute. If mediation is not required or if mediation efforts fail, the employer will have to file a written answer to the charge. You then have the opportunity to respond to your employer’s answer.
Your claim will then be investigated by the EEOC. The EEOC may interview your employer or witnesses. The EEOC may request certain documents. The EEOC will take one of several actions once the investigation is complete.
If the EEOC is unable to determine if your employer broke the law, you will receive a Notice of Right to Sue, which allows you to pursue a legal claim on your own in court. If the EEOC determines your employer broke the law, it may try to reach a voluntary settlement with your employer. If a settlement cannot be reached, the EEOC may file a lawsuit on your behalf. If not, you will be sent a Notice of Right to Sue that allows you to file a lawsuit on your own against your employer.
Know your rights
If you are discriminated against at work, you will want to make sure you understand your rights. While workplace discrimination can be distressing, you do have options that will help you address the situation and resolve it in a manner you see fit.