Although employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers based on their age, gender, race, sex or other characteristics, it still happens. California employees might want to know how submitting a discrimination charge to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission works before they take action.
The first step is filing the charge at the nearest EEOC office within 180 days of the discriminatory act. The agency will send a notification to the employer within 10 days to inform it about the filing. An investigation follows so that the EEOC can determine if there is cause to back the claim that the employer was discriminatory.
If the EEOC finds that there is no cause, the employee has 14 days to ask for a review. If the no cause determination is upheld, the agency will send a letter that gives the employee the right to file a lawsuit against the employer. If the EEOC finds that there is cause to support the discrimination charge, it will initiate conciliation.
During conciliation, the employee and employer will attempt to resolve the dispute outside of court. The optimal result is a settlement, but if conciliation is unsuccessful, the EEOC will either file a suit on the employee’s behalf or send the employee a letter for the right to sue. Whether the employee receives the right to sue letter after conciliation or after the EEOC finds cause to support the charge, the employee has 90 days to file a lawsuit.
Workers who believe that they are the victims of unlawful conduct, such as pay cuts, demotions and wrongful termination on the basis of protected characteristics, may want to talk to an employment law attorney before filing a discrimination charge with the EEOC. The attorney could help them better understand their rights and help them build stronger cases.