State and federal laws protect employees and job applicants from discrimination. For example, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or a job applicant on the basis of his or her race, gender, pregnancy, age (40 or older), disability or membership in another legally protected class.
However, many victims of workplace discrimination don’t know where to turn to assert and exercise their rights. With that in mind, here are some things you need to know about discrimination and the EEOC process.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws that prohibit job discrimination.
While the EEOC charge process is an effective way to hold employers accountable, most employees don’t really know where to begin or what to do after contacting the EEOC.
One thing to understand is that the EEOC process is essentially federal, but it is handled on the local level. The process has four stages, which include allowing your employer to respond to the complaint.
Here are two very important aspects of the process:
- There is a 180-day post-termination deadline for filing a charge.
- After reviewing the case, the EEOC may issue a “right-to-sue” letter, which is necessary if you intend to litigate the case.
Don’t underestimate the importance of having legal guidance throughout the process.
Before starting the EEOC process, it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced employment lawyer about your case. An Arizona employment law attorney can advise you on the likelihood of winning; help you obtain the “right-to-sue” letter; and represent you in a lawsuit once you have obtained the letter. The importance of experience in these matters cannot be overstated.
For more on workplace discrimination and navigating the EEOC process in Arizona, please see The Zoldan Law Group’s overview of illegal discrimination in the workplace.