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Topics often discussed: employee rights, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, contractual or commission disputes, wrongful termination, and when to fight for unemployment benefits.  Written by Denver employment lawyers. 

Common Mistakes When Filing With The EEOC

 
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Waiting To Find Legal Representation

Many individuals file with the EEOC (Equal Opportunity Employment Commission) without legal representation.  This can lead to preventable issues later down the road if certain facts or boxes are not included in the Charge of Discrimination.  If potential claims are not brought at specific stages of the EEOC process, the ability to bring a lawsuit for those claims are lost.

Personal Story Of A Discrimination Charge That Went Wrong

In recent months, our law firm was approached by a woman that completed the EEOC process herself.  She found out too late that the correct box for her protected class was not checked.  This meant she lost her ability to proceed to federal court on a strong claim.  She was “devastated” and realized that she “should have talked to a lawyer first.”    

All claims brought under the following federal statutes must be brought to the EEOC prior to filing a lawsuit

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 

If you believe you are being discriminated against due to: Race, Color, Sex, Religion, National Origin or Ethnicity.

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act 

If you believe you are being discriminated against due to: your genetic information.  Genetic information includes -  your family medical history; information about your or a family member's genetic tests, such as tests to detect whether an individual has an increased risk of developing certain cancers or other diseases; and the fact that an individual or the individual's family member has sought or received genetic counseling or has participated in clinical research that includes genetic testing.

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act

If you believe you are being discriminated against due to: being over the age of 40.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

If you believe you are being discriminated against due to: any mental or physical impairments that may or may not affect your job.

Not Acting Before You Get The Right to Sue

Many individuals wait to seek legal counsel once they receive their Right to Sue.  A 90-day deadline seems like a long time, but in the legal profession, it is not. 

  • It is difficult for an attorney to familiarize themselves enough with a case in 90 days to confidentially file a Complaint in federal court. 
  • An attorney will have more reservations about taking on a client that just received a Right to Sue.  This is because attorneys carefully chose which cases to file in federal court, and if the clock is ticking there is less time to examine your case. 
  • An attorney can do legal research and factual investigation during the EEOC investigation process.  This information is key to responding effectively to the Right to Sue. 
  • An attorney can discuss with you the likelihood of success in court and what litigation would involve.

Choosing the EEOC over the State Civil Rights Division

Colorado’s Civil Rights Division (CCRD) is sometimes the more appropriate place to file a Charge of Discrimination, because the jurisdiction encompasses more categories of protection.  If you were mistreated by your employer due to your Creed, Sexual Orientation (including transgender status), or Marriage to a Co-Worker, you are likely better off with the CCRD as opposed to the EEOC.

What You Can Do Now

If you are involved in the EEOC process without legal representation, do not wait to contact an attorney after you receive your Right to Sue.  Contact our firm here, we will happily discuss all your rights and the strengths of the claims you wish to pursue.

Click here for more information about the EEOC process.