For many types of discrimination (race, color, disability, age, national origin, gender or sexual harassment) an employee must file a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The EEOC is a Federal Agency of the U.S. Government that will investigate your claim of discrimination. Once the EEOC completes the investigation they will usually issue a right to sue letter which gives you the right to file a lawsuit. There are strict time limits so you should seek an attorney immediately. Also, most EEOC “right to sue letters” give you 90 days to file a suit. Even if you are after the 90 days you should seek an attorney because an attorney may be able to help you even if you are past the 90 day deadline.
How to Win an EEOC Claim
If you’re the victim of discrimination at work, your next step is to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision (EEOC). Here are a few ways to increase your chances of success:
Hire an Experienced Lawyer
Although you can handle an EEOC complaint on your own, you may have more success if you have an experienced employment lawyer on your side. He or she will help you fill out the paperwork accurately and represent you in court. You can be rest assured that your employer will have their own legal counsel, so you don’t want to go in there naked. Your lawyer will know everything about employment law and stand up for your legal rights.
Gather the Appropriate Evidence
In order to prove that you’re the victim of discrimination at work, you have to show sufficient evidence in court. Your employment lawyer can inform you about all the documentation you may need. For example, let’s say that you were terminated shortly after complaining about sexual harassment. Your employer claims that your termination resulted from poor performance. However, your last few performance evaluations say otherwise. In this situation, you’ll want to show your performance reviews.
Speak to Coworkers
Bringing up your claim to your coworkers may feel uncomfortable at first, but it may help support your claim. For instance, if you believe you were treated differently than other employees at work for the same behavior, ask coworkers who saw this to confirm this. Explain to them that their testimony will be a big help to your case.
When you are the victim of discrimination at work, it’s understandable that you feel upset and angry. However, that doesn’t mean you should let your emotions get the best of you. If you allow your emotions to affect your behavior during mediation, it can negatively impact your case. Keep your eye on the prize and maintain your composure. Before each mediation, take a deep breath and remind yourself what you’re really there for.
The more professional you are during the mediation process, the more successful your claim may be. Dress conservatively to the meeting and always show up on time. If the mediator knows that you are taking everything seriously, they may look upon your case more favorably.
If you want to file EEOC claims, schedule a consultation with an employment lawyer like Davie & Valdez, P.C. today.