If you’re having issues with harassment or discrimination in the workplace, you may be unsure as to where to file a complaint to get your claim investigated. There is a government agency set up for the specific reason of monitoring and investigating claims of harassment and discrimination. The agency is called the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If you are a victim of harassment or discrimination based on age, race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, genetic information, or retaliation, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC then investigates your claim and will determine whether your claim meets the criteria of valid discrimination or harassment under the law. They may even offer to mediate the issue with an employer or former employer or issue a notice-of-right-to-sue letter giving you permission to file a lawsuit in a court of law within 90 days.
Right now, many victims of harassment and discrimination feel they have nowhere to turn because the EEOC, like many other agencies, has been shutdown due to the budget crisis in Washington.
The EEOC offers this advice for such victims during the shutdown:
- You can still begin the process of filing a charge by going to the EEOC’s online assessment program. You can locate that link here http://www.eeoc.gov/contact/index.cfm.
- Due to the shut-down, requests for reconsideration of a rejected claim and questions about pending charges are suspended.
- If you have reached notice of your right to sue, the limits of filing your case in court are not suspended due to the shut-down. You must file your suit within the time period explained in the letter.
- Any mediation about claims between employers and employees (or former employees) has been suspended for the time being.
- The EEOC is still accepting appeals and requests for consideration on a federal level.
If you have received a notice-of-right-to-sue or have questions about being a victim of harassment or discrimination in the workplace, don’t be afraid to consult with an attorney.