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The Role of the Administrative Process in Employment Litigation

Many people come to us eager for their day in court against an employer who treated them unjustly or refused to address on-the-job harassment. They are surprised, however, when we tell them that they first must file an administrative complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination make an administrative charge a prerequisite to filing a suit in federal court. While it is not necessary to go through the entire administrative process before bringing suit, a failure to file a timely EEOC complaint could ultimately bar your claim. Federal courts routinely dismiss discrimination suits that are not preceded by an administrative charge. This can occur regardless of the merits of your claim. There are major two exceptions:

  • Suits for age discrimination under the ADEA
  • Suits for gender-based pay discrimination under the Equal Pay Act

Fortunately, all hope is not lost for those who failed to file a timely EEOC charge. Unlike its federal counterpart, New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination allows employees to bring suit in Superior Court without first pursuing the administrative remedies available from the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights.

Nevertheless, it is still important to preserve both your state and federal rights, as it may not be clear initially whether the federal or state process is a better option. Moreover, the processes are not mutually exclusive. By consulting an experienced employment law attorney early, you can keep your options open.

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Neil  H.  Deutsch Attorney Photo
Neil H. Deutsch
Senior Partner

About Neil H. Deutsch has been practicing law for over 35 years and is known as a skilled negotiator in employment and discrimination law. He believes in a bottom-line approach of risk analysis and cost effectiveness for his clients. "Case evaluation is something we take seriously," says Mr. Deutsch who seeks top net dollar for…

Bruce  L.  Atkins Attorney Photo
Bruce L. Atkins
Senior Partner

About Bruce L. Atkins is regarded as one of New Jersey’s premier practitioners of employment and civil litigation. He has been selected to the New Jersey Super Lawyers prestigious list every year since 2005.  This honor, bestowed upon a recipient by the votes of his peers, is a powerful nod to the skill Mr. Atkins…

Adam  J.  Kleinfeldt Attorney Photo
Adam J. Kleinfeldt
Partner

About Adam J. Kleinfeldt joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in March of 2015.  He primarily represents individuals in employment litigations such as discrimination, retaliation, and whistle blowing matters.  He has extensive experience in all phases of the litigation process. Adam has obtained significant results for some of his clients, including a $525,000 jury verdict in a…

Diane  Englander  Peyser Attorney Photo
Diane Englander Peyser
Attorney

About Diane Englander Peyser joined Deutsch Atkins, PC in September 2018 where she represents employees in wrongful termination, retaliation, harassment, and discrimination matters. Prior to joining Deutsch Atkins, PC, Diane represented clients in all aspects of employment law on behalf of employees involving unemployment appeals, claims of sexual harassment, LGBT discrimination, disability discrimination, FMLA, New…

Debra M. McGarvey Attorney Photo
Debra M. McGarvey
Attorney

About Debra M. McGarvey joined Deutsch Atkins, P.C. in December 2019. She has extensive experience defending employees and employers in state and federal court in employment litigation matters. She has represented clients on various issues arising out of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD), the New Jersey Conscientious Employee Protection Act (CEPA), the Americans…

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