Employment Discrimiation Attorney Report Discrimination Immediately To Preserve your Claim
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The law says that you must first file a charge of discrimination alleging discrimination or retaliation with the appropriate administrative agency at the state and/or federal level. The best way to approach a discrimination or retaliation case in Florida is to file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In Jacksonville, you may also file a charge with the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission (JHRC). Florida has a state law similiar to federal discrimination laws. As a result, claims may also be filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). You do not have to file with all of the agencies listed. If you chose one agency, it will "dual-file" your claims. When you file the charge of discrimination with the EEEOC, a copy will be sent to you with the "charge number." The agency you choose will have 180 days to investigate your allegations.
The EEOC's Next Step: Within 10 days, the EEOC will send a letter to your employer outlining your allegations and will ask the employer to respond. There are times that the agency will have additional questions and may request the employer respond to these questions in writing. In some instances, the EEOC will ask you and the employer if you would like to particiation in mediation.
The Mediation Process: A mediation is an opportunity for you and the employer to discuss the concerns outlined in your charge of discrimation. The EEOC will appoint a neutral third party to help you and your employer come to a satisfactory resolution of the issue, which may include settlement. It is important to understand that a mediator does not make a decision about the merits of your claim. The mediator cannot make a decision regarding your allegations and the employer's response.
Dismissal by the EEOC: In the event that the EEOC does not have jurisdiction over your charge or if you filed the charge untimely, the EEOC will quickly close the charge. This may also happen if the EEOC decides that an investigator will not be bale to find discrimination. The EEOC will notify you if the EEOC dismisses your charge.
180 Day Investigation Period: All investigations differ. The EEOC determines if there are facts it needs or if there is more information to gather from either of the parties. The EEOC may but will not always, visit the employer to interview employees or to review documents. The investigator assigned might also investigate by using telephone interviews of the witnesses or parties. When the investigation is finished, the EEOC will notify both you and your employer of the result. While the law states that the period of time allowed for an investigation is 180 days, there are times the investigation may be completed faster. Other times, the investigation may be slower. According to the EEOC, in 2004 it took an average of six (6) months to investigate a charge.
After The Investigation is Complete: When the investigation is complete, the agency will issue a "Notice of Right to Sue" letter to you informing you (1) whether the agency found cause to believe discrimination occured, (2) whether the agency found no cause to believe discrimination occured, or (3) whether the agency was unable to conclude that discrimination occured.
Options Available to You If You Receive:
A "No Cause" or "Unable to Conclude" Determination: If the agency has not found a violation (No Cause) or was unable to determine if a violation occured (Unable to Conclude), The"Notice of Right to Sue" letter will say the EEOC found "No Cause to Determine Discrimination Existed" or "Unable to Conclude whethere Discrimination Occurred." The letter you receive for either of the two determinations will also give you permission to file a lawsuit alleging your discrimination claims against your employer in a court of law. The letter will tell you the deadline for you to file your lawsuit. You MUST file before the deadline or you may lose the right to file a lawsuit in a court of law.
A Cause Determination: If the agency finds a violation, the agency will try to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer. This is sometimes called "concilliation." If the EEOC cannot reach a voluntary settlement, your case may be referred to the EEOC's legal staff or in some cases, the United States Department of Justice to determine whether or not the EEOC or the Department of Justice will file a lawsuit on your behalf. If the EEOC and the Department of Justice declines to file a lawsuit on your behalf, the EEOC will issue you a "Notice of Right to Sue" letter. This letter will also give you the right to file a lawsuit against your employer alleging your discrimination claims in a court of law. There will be a deadline given to you in the letter. You MUST file before the deadline or you may lose the right to file a lawsuit in a court of law.
If you would like to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): To file a charge of discrimination by telehone with the EEOC you should call: 1-800-669-4000.
If you are in Jacksonville, Florida: You may contact the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission (JHRC) at (904) 630-4911.
If you are in other cities of counties of Florida: You may contact the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR). The FCHR is in Tallahassee and may be contacted at (850) 488-7082.
If you are Outside the State of Florida: For those of you who live in other states, there may be a state agency in your state. It is highly recommended that you investigate to determine which agency should be contacted to file a charge of discrimination in your home state. You should seek legal advise from a licensed attorney in your state. You can usually locate a licensed attorney in your state by contacting the state bar association or by visiting the National Employment Lawyers Association's
If you feel you are the victim of discrimination or retaliatory conduct, you should file a charge of discrimination immediately to preserve your rights from statutory deadlines.