When you go to the EEOC be careful to check the box that say “I want to file a charge”

When you go to the EEOC you will fill out an intake questionnaire. During that process you will be asked to check one of two boxes: Box 1: I want to file a charge of discrimination”; and Box 2 “I want to talk to an EEOC employee before deciding whether to file a charge of discrimination. I understand that by checking this box, I have not filed a charge with the EEOC”. If you check the second box you have not filed a charge of discrimination. This can have devastating consequences to a wrongfully fired employee. Under Texas Law you must file a claim with the EEOC (who acts for the Texas Workforce Commission Division of Human Rights) within a 180 days. This 180 days may actually run from when you have notice of an adverse action, not when you learn of the reason for the adverse action. If you don’t check Box 1 to file the charge you have not satisfied the 180 day requirement and once you pass 180 days you have probably lost your chance to file a claim under Texas law. (Federal law is 300 days, but for various reasons you may be better off under Texas law). Unfortunately though because you filled out an intake questionnaire and checked Box 2 you have basically proven “notice” of a claim and the 180 days will almost certainly be running. Therefore think long and hard before you check Box 2. It could be the death of your claim under Texas law and therefore preclude you from pursuing a lawsuit under Texas law. It is very dangerous. As an El Paso employment lawyer I would strongly suggest that you go see a board certified employment lawyer before you go the EEOC to file a charge of discrimination. Not doing so can have devastating effects on your possible claim.

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