The EEOC & Employment Discrimination

Is There A Time Limit Involved With Respect To Filing A Charge Of Discrimination With The EEOC Under Title VII?

Yes. Title VII imposes time limits for the filing of charges of discrimination. The EEOC can provide you with further information on this subject. In most instances, a charge must be filed within 300 days of the act of discrimination. In some states the charge must be filed within 180 days of the act of discrimination.

What Information Must Be Provided To File an EEOC Charge?

The following information must be provided in a charge of employment discrimination:

  • The complaining party's name, address, and telephone number;
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the respondent employer, employment agency, or union that is alleged to have discriminated, and number of employees (or union members), if known;
  • A short description of the alleged violation (the event that caused the complaining party to believe that his or her rights were violated); and
  • The date(s) of the alleged violation(s).
  • Federal employees or applicants for employment should see the fact sheet about Federal Sector Equal Employment Opportunity Complaint Processing.

What Does The EEOC Do If It Determines a Legal Violation has Occurred?

If the EEOC determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred, a written determination and invitation to enter into settlement discussions are issued to the parties. If settlement efforts are not successful, the EEOC and/or the charging party may file a lawsuit against the employer for unlawful discrimination. 

If I Have Filed A Charge With The EEOC And Want A Notice Of Right To Sue, Which Agency Will Issue It To Me?

The Employment Litigation Section, through its right to sue unit, issues notices of right to sue requested by charging parties, upon receipt of appropriate documentation from the EEOC, on charges that have been filed with the EEOC against state and local government employers under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act, except in those instances in which the EEOC has dismissed the charge. If the charge has been filed against a private employer or a union, only the EEOC has authority to issue a notice of right to sue. Also, only the EEOC has authority to issue a notice of right to sue under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, regardless of whether the respondent named in the charge is a state or local government employer or a private employer or a union. If you have filed a charge under Title VII or the Americans with Disabilities Act against a state or local government employer and want a notice of right to sue, you may make your request in writing either to the office of the EEOC where you filed the charge or to the Employment Litigation Section.

As An Employer, What Can I Expect To Happen In An EEOC Investigation?

After a charge is filed, you may be asked to provide a statement of position responding to the allegations in the charge. You may also be asked to provide documents or information related to the subject of the EEOC's investigation. Additionally, the EEOC may ask to visit your worksite or to interview some of your employees. Cooperation with EEOC requests for information is helpful to the EEOC in investigating charges. When an employer refuses to provide information, or does not do so in a reasonably timely manner, the EEOC may issue a subpoena. You may retain an attorney to represent you during the EEOC’s handling of the charge but you are not required to do so.

What Is The Relationship Between The EEOC And The U.S. Department Of Justice?

If the EEOC, after investigating a charge of employment discrimination filed against a state or local government employer under Title VII, or the Americans with Disabilities Act determines that there is reasonable cause to believe a violation of the law has occurred and conciliation efforts are unsuccessful, the EEOC will then refer the charge to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice will either initiate litigation on the charge or issue a notice of right to sue to the charging party, which entitles the charging party to file his or her own lawsuit in court.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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