Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against, fire/terminate a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. Discrimination based on sex also includes claims for sexual harassment.
Before a discrimination or sexual harassment lawsuit can be filed, you must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). This often involves a simple letter that details the facts serving as the basis for your discrimination or sexual harassment claims. After receipt of your discrimination charge, the EEOC will begin an investigation of your claims. Your claims will then be set for settlement talks, known as mediation, or you will receive a right to sue letter. A right to sue letter gives you the authority to file a lawsuit for your discrimination sexual harassment claims.Important Deadlines for Filing Claims
The anti-discrimination laws give you a limited amount of time to file a charge of discrimination or sexual harassment. In general, you need to file a charge within 180 calendar days from the day the discrimination took place. Federal employees and job applicants have a different complaint process, and generally must contact an agency EEO Counselor within 45 days. Regardless of how much time you have to file, it is best to file as soon as you have decided that is what you would like to do. Time limits for filing a charge with EEOC generally will not be extended while you attempt to resolve a dispute through another forum such as an internal grievance procedure, a union grievance, arbitration or mediation before filing a charge with EEOC. Other forums for resolution may be pursued at the same time as the processing of the EEOC charge. After the filing of a charge and at the time that you receive a Notice-of-Right-to- Sue from the EEOC, you must file your lawsuit within 90 days or your claim is forever barred.
Because of the strict deadlines in filing a claim for discrimination or sexual harassment, you should contact an attorney immediately when the discrimination or harassment first occurs.Need an Employment Discrimination Lawyer? Schedule a Free Consultation Today
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