The Administrative Process for Workplace Discrimination Claims
Before you can file a lawsuit for workplace discrimination, there is an administrative process you must follow. This is important to know because the applicable deadlines for filing these types of administrative complaints are far shorter than the typical time limits associated with lawsuits. Failing to follow these procedures and file a timely charge with the appropriate agency can defeat your case, regardless of its merits.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for administering federal statutes that prohibit employment discrimination based on:
- Race, religion, color, national origin or gender (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act)
- Age over 40 (Age Discrimination in Employment Act)
- Disability (Americans with Disabilities Act)
- Genetic trait (Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act)
You must file a charge with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged discrimination. Once filed, you have the option of waiting for the EEOC to investigate your claim or requesting permission to file suit in federal court. Even if you intend to sue, you must still file an initial charge with the EEOC.
Cases involving employers with fewer than 15 regular employees (20 for age discrimination) or those involving bases of discrimination not covered under federal law (such as marital status) may be outside of the EEOC’s jurisdiction. In these cases, you can file a complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or file a lawsuit in Florida superior court. In either case, a West Palm Beach employment attorney can help you more effectively gather evidence and present your case.