How to File an EEOC Complaint

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If you face discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace, the first place for you to seek help is your company’s human resources department. Employees that work for small businesses that do not have human resources departments should speak with a manager concerning harassment and discrimination at work.

If your company refuses to address your concerns, you should file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). An employment attorney can help you learn how to file an EEOC complaint.

Where to File a Complaint

If you face discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace, you can file an EEOC complaint at a local, state, or regional EEOC office. Make sure the EEOC offices are open to receive in-person complaints, as some offices might remain closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Filing an EEOC complaint in-person typically shortens the claim filing process.

You also can apply by calling the toll-free number at 800-669-4000 or filing an EEOC complaint online. Whether you file by mail or via the online portal, make sure you receive a confirmation number verifying the reception of your EEOC complaint.

When to File a Complaint

Each state has established a statute of limitations for filing a discrimination and/or harassment complaint with the EEOC. The general rule is you have 1800 days from the date of the first act of discrimination and/or harassment to file an EEOC complaint.

If your state has passed an anti-discrimination law that covers the same factors as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, you might receive a filing extension that gives you 300 days to file a complaint. The rules slightly change if you plan to file an age discrimination claim. Check with your employment law attorney to confirm how much time you have to file a complaint with the EEOC.

What the EEOC Will Need from You

Regardless of how you file an EEOC complaint, you must be prepared by bringing the documents the federal agency needs to process discrimination and harassment complaints. You need to submit your name, address, and phone number, as well as the name, address, and phone number of your employer.

The EEOC wants a detailed description of the discriminatory acts that you face in the workplace. You must not only describe the acts, but also provide the dates and times when the illegal acts took place. When describing the acts of discrimination and/or harassment, make sure not to embellish your side of the story.

You also should provide the EEOC with the names and contact information of any co-workers that can verify your version of events.

If you need help filing an EEOC complaint, let a representative from the EEOC know to ensure you receive proper assistance when the time comes to file an EEOC complaint.

Work with an Employment Lawyer

You can expect your employer to fight back against claims of workplace discrimination and/or harassment. By working with an employment law attorney, you let your employer know that you are serious about filing a complaint with the EEOC.

Your lawyer helps you file a complaint on time, as well as provides the EEOC with the documentation the federal agency needs to process your EEOC complaint in a timely manner.

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