If you’re experiencing discrimination or harassment in the workplace, you have a multitude of legal protections on your side. The law prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee because of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy status, disability or genetic information. Discrimination comes in many forms; it may be direct or indirect, and it could be one instance or ongoing.
Most people who have experienced employment discrimination know that they’ve been wronged but they don’t know where to turn. If the discrimination has been going on for some time, usually the employee has seen posters for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the breakroom and considered filing a charge, but abandoned the process because it seemed complex.
Do I need an attorney or should I file a charge on my own?
The first step in getting legal help is to get a free case evaluation with an employment attorney. The attorney will help you identify whether you need to file an EEOC Charge and help determine if you have other claims that don’t require a visit to the EEOC, such as age discrimination or wage theft. The case evaluation will also help you to organize your thoughts and any evidence you might have before you visit the EEOC office. After your case evaluation, if you have a case that requires an EEOC Charge, the attorney will give you instructions on how to take the next step. You do not need an attorney to file the charge.
What happens after I file an EEOC Charge?
The EEOC will take up to 180 days to investigate your case. They will notify your employer of your complaint and give your employer time to respond. Your employer cannot fire or demote you for making a charge with the EEOC. If you are fired, demoted or otherwise discriminated against because your employer is upset that you made a complaint against him/her, contact an attorney immediately. You have protections.
At the end of the EEOC’s investigation, they may issue you a “right to sue” letter. If they do, you should contact the attorney who did your case evaluation immediately. There is a very limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because you talked to a lawyer ahead of time, you won’t miss any valuable time.
What should I do in the meantime?
It is generally a good idea to keep records of any additional or ongoing issues you have at work and not to discuss anything about your employer or the potential case on social media.
Whether you’re looking to quietly settle a case against your employer or take them to court, make Browne House Law Group your first call for a free case evaluation. Don’t wait to talk to a lawyer today. We serve employment clients in Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Hale, Bibb, Shelby and beyond.