What to Expect: An EEOC Cause of Action Chronology
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed June 20, 2016
Almost everyone knows that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against their employees based on race, religion, disability, gender, and other factors. Unfortunately, discrimination in the workplace still happens. If you think you've been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination, the first thing to do is consult with an experienced attorney near you, to discuss your rights and the facts of your particular situation. Before filing a lawsuit, you will probably have to file a "charge" with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). To help with your understanding of this process, following is a chronology of an EEOC discrimination charge.
1) The employer discriminates against you in the terms or conditions of your employment, based on an unlawful reason such as your race, religion, or gender.
2) Within 180 days of the discrimination, you file a "charge" (like a complaint) at the EEOC office nearest you.
3) Within ten days of filing the charge, the EEOC sends a notice to your employer, informing them if the charge filed.
4) The EEOC begins an investigation in order to determine whether there is "cause" to support the allegation that your employer did discriminate against you.
5) The EEOC makes a finding of "cause"
The EEOC makes a finding of "no cause" to believe that there was discrimination. Within fourteen days of the "no cause" finding, you can request a review of the determination. If the EEOC affirms the "no cause" finding, it will issue a "right to sue" letter. If it decides there is cause to believe your employer discriminated, it will start conciliation.
6) Conciliation (a method of resolving the dispute between you and your employer without going to court) begins.
7) You and your employer reach a settlement agreement as a result of conciliation
The conciliation process fails. If the conciliation fails, the EEOC will issue a "right to sue" letter or file a lawsuit in court on your behalf. If the EEOC issues a "right to sue" letter, you must file your lawsuit within ninety days of receiving the letter.
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