The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is the federal agency tasked with enforcing federal laws about workplace discrimination or harassment. An employer or place of employment cannot treat a worker poorly due to characteristics beyond their control, like race, age, or gender. These rules seem simple enough, but employers violate them all the time. That’s why we need the EEOC and why you may need a Chesterfield County hostile work environment attorney to help you make an EEOC claim.
When Should I File an EEOC Claim?
You should file an EEOC claim when you believe that your employer is in violation of state and federal discrimination laws. Employers cannot discriminate based on qualities like sex, disability, race, or religion. If your boss is discriminating against you or allowing others to create a hostile work environment, then you should first file a complaint with your company’s HR department. Document any incident of harassment or discrimination and report everything.
This will start a paper trail and hopefully get the bad behaviors shut down. If this does not work, that is when it is time to file a claim with the EEOC.
Can I File With the State Instead?
Some states also have their own agencies that are responsible for enforcing workplace-related laws. In Virginia, you have the Office of Civil Rights. You can report your issue to the OCR instead of the federal EEOC, but you should let the agency know that you want your complaint filed with both agencies (the EEOC and OCR). That is commonly known as “cross-filing” your complaint. Then, one agency will typically investigate the matter on behalf of both agencies.
What Can an EEOC Claim Lead To?
If the EEOC finds your report convincing enough, they can decide to investigate your employer. The EEOC can (if relevant to your claims) look at every aspect of how the company treats workers, from the hiring process to how it decides on raises and promotions. If investigators find a clear record of discrimination, then this company could be held liable.
Should I Hire an Attorney?
You are not required to hire an attorney when you make a report to the EEOC. However, we do recommend at least speaking to one before you file your claim. The EEOC and OCR receive plenty of complaints. You want to be sure that your claim contains all of the information needed to convince these agencies that it is worthwhile to investigate.
An experienced employment attorney knows what these agencies are looking for. They can tell you what to focus on in your report and what kinds of documentation and info will bolster your case. There is no way to absolutely guarantee that the EEOC will investigate your employer, but working with a lawyer can help.
Contact an Employment Lawyer
So contact Passero Employment Law if you are considering filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Our dedicated lawyer is ready to help you hold your employer accountable.