Discrimination Lawsuits and the EEOC Administrative Process
If you wish to file an employment complaint under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act or Civil Rights Act, you must first contend with the administrative process of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Federal law requires that all complaints under these statutes originate through the filing of a charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory conduct — 300 days if a state or local law prohibits discrimination on the same basis as in New Jersey.
Once you have filed a charge, the EEOC:
- Investigates your claim to determine if there is probable cause to believe that you have been the victim of discrimination
- May attempt to settle your case through mediation or opt to file a lawsuit against your employer
- Could elect to dismiss your charge and issue a Notice of Right to Sue allowing you to bring your case independently in federal court
EEOC investigations can take a long time. Therefore, you may be able to get more satisfactory results by bringing your case in court as a civil lawsuit. If more than 180 days have passed since you filed your charge, you can obtain a Notice of Right to Sue even if the investigation is not yet complete. You can also request one sooner, although there is no guarantee EEOC will grant your request.
Once you receive your Notice of Right to Sue, your New Jersey employment discrimination attorney has 90 days to file your civil suit in federal court. If bringing an age discrimination claim under ADEA, you do not need a Notice of Right to Sue.