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When The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Gets Involved In Employment Claims & What To Expect Next

In this article, you can discover…
– The next steps in the legal process after the EEOC is notified.
– How employees are protected from employer retaliation.
– When and how an employer is prompted to respond to a report or claim.

When Does The EEOC Get Involved, And What Happens Next?

You typically have 180 days to file your claim with the EEOC (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) under federal statutes. From there, the EEOC has 180 days to investigate your claim. At the expiration of the 180 days, you can request the EEOC issue a Notice of Right to Sue, which gives you 90 days to file a lawsuit. During the investigation process, you may have the opportunity to mediate your claim.

To start the investigation process, you file a Charge of Discrimination which is sent to the employer, and they will get an opportunity to respond. The EEOC will provide you with the employer’s position statement, and you will have a chance to respond, including providing additional information, witnesses, and documents that may support your case.

Under the state entity, the Florida Commission on Human Rights, or the FCHR, a similar process exists to investigate claims. The FCHR will make an offer to mediate the case to resolve the matter earlier in the process without going through the entire investigation. That can benefit both sides if both are in a settlement mindset. The claim, nevertheless, will be investigated under a similar timeframe: they have 180 days.

One drawback with the Florida Commission on Human Relations is that they don’t issue a Right to Sue letter. Instead, they will decide on whether or not there’s reasonable cause. Suppose they find that there’s no good cause. In that case, you’re stuck in the administrative process on your state law claims and have to continue appealing your case and dealing with the administration’s political appointees.

Generally, when you file with the EEOC, you will be able to request the Right to Sue so you can file your lawsuit and avoid further administrative process, which is a distinction between the EEOC and FCHR. But the investigation processes are on a similar timeframe. They are somewhat similar as far as the process is concerned because you will get a response in the state system from the employer, and you’ll have an opportunity to reply.

Am I Protected From Workplace Retaliation If I File A Claim?

Many protections apply to employees who are reporting wrongful conduct. Ideally, people are encouraged to report unlawful conduct, so the law is designed to protect employees who do participate in reporting.

  • If you have requested an accommodation under the ADA, retaliation by your employer is prohibited.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act has a provision that protects against retaliation if you report to your employer that you’re owed wages or if you file a lawsuit against your employer.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also prohibits retaliation.

Whistleblower statutes also offer specific protection as far as retaliation is concerned because these regulations are designed to protect employees who report the employer’s unlawful conduct.

How Long Does The Employer Have To Resolve The Complaint?

The employer’s internal policy requirements might determine when the employer is supposed to respond and resolve a reported issue – which can implicate whether or not you have a case. For instance, if you have reported harassment to your employer, but your employer fails to act despite the employer having a policy to investigate such claims within a certain time, then you may have a claim for discrimination against the employer based on their failure to implement their own policies. In general, if the employer fails to adhere to their guidelines, that would be significant to your case.
As far as an internal reporting procedure goes, employees should make sure that:

  • They’re familiar with the applicable policies and systems that the employer has in place to report complaints or grievances;
  • They review the handbooks and policy manuals provided when they were employed or that are made accessible through the human resources department.

Aside from internal timelines, deadlines exist regarding reporting to the EEOC, but nothing states that the employer must resolve the claim by a specific date. If you file your claim with the EEOC, the EEOC has 180 days to investigate your claim and get you a determination on your right to sue.
You have 90 days to file your lawsuit if the Right to Sue is issued. The employer’s up against that timeframe to try and resolve the claim before a lawsuit is filed against them if they are concerned with avoiding it.
Other deadlines include court deadlines once a lawsuit is filed. The court will determine the schedule upon which the litigation progresses. If you cannot resolve the case through settlement, which is unlikely, then the court will determine the trial date.

With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Labor & Employment Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll walk you through each step of the process.
For more information on Labor & Employment Cases in Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (954) 799-9469 today.

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