When it comes to making a discrimination or harassment claim against your employer two of the most important questions are how and when to start. Unfortunately, many employees wait too long to ask them. The reaction is natural. Some employees are scared that making even an internal complaint let alone filing a formal charge will result in negative consequences from their employer. This is especially true for the most vulnerable workers who are completely dependent on their job for providing themselves or their families basic necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. Others take a long-term perspective and are concerned that speaking up “too soon” will give their employer the impression that they’re overreacting. Still more wrongly assume that what they’re experiencing “happens everywhere” and decide to “bear with it” for a time. Our Greensboro lawyer is aware of this first hand.
So how and when do you start? First, offensive conduct MUST be reported to the employer as soon as possible. If the problem is with a co-worker, the immediate supervisor should be notified. If the problem is with a boss, look to another superior or better still to human resources (if possible). The next thing to keep in mind is that internal complaints are never enough if you want to keep your future legal options open. Once an internal complaint has been made and the discrimination and/or harassment continue, you should contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). The EEOC is the government agency responsible for enforcing the federal laws that protect you from offensive conduct in the workplace, including Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, and GINA. They are also the administrative gatekeepers for discrimination and harassment claims and anyone trying to pursue such a claim MUST file a formal charge with the EEOC. You can do this on your own at a local EEOC office or with the help of an employment lawyer. The best method is to get an employment lawyer involved as soon as possible so that your charge (and possible case) are best positioned for investigation and later resolution, but whether you hire an attorney for this phase or not, you only have 180 DAYS since the last incident or adverse employment action to file a charge. A family law attorney at our law firm will help you with your situation.
Once you’ve filed a charge however, the deadlines don’t end. Eventually, after an investigation and any voluntary attempts to resolve the charge amicably are complete, the EEOC will issue you a “right-to-sue” letter. Under most circumstances it is this letter that gives you the right to file a discrimination or harassment lawsuit against your employer in either federal or North Carolina court. If you decide to do so, you MUST file the lawsuit within 90 DAYS of receiving the “right-to-sue” letter. Contact a personal injury lawyer in Greensboro today if you or someone you know needs help.
For most employees, courts recognize no exceptions to these filing deadlines, meaning that waiting too long can completely bar you from bringing an otherwise valid claim and getting the justice you deserve. Our criminal lawyers in Greensboro NC are here for you!
If you’re facing discrimination or harassment in your workplace, contact an employment lawyer at Garrett, Walker & Aycoth today.