Sometimes, it’s possible to work out workplace discrimination issues with your employer. Some companies have internal grievance processes, while others will respond by filing a charge of discrimination.
If this doesn’t work, the next step for cases involving workplace discrimination or harassment is the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or its state equivalent, the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC or SHAC). In most discrimination claims, you can’t skip this step. A judge could throw out any non-race discrimination lawsuit you file without an official “right to sue” letter from the EEOC or the SCHAC.
Though an employee can file an EEOC and SCHAC charge of discrimination without legal assistance, there are tight deadlines for doing so. It’s important to gather key documents, from performance reviews to emails. It also helps to have a complete timeline of all events.
That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced employment lawyer from the start. At Burnette Shutt & McDaniel, our founders included two certified specialists in employment law. Our employment lawyers have helped many clients find justice after they’ve been discriminated against at work.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission process
Some clients consult attorneys only when filing the initial charge of discrimination. Others prefer that a lawyer track the case throughout the entire Equal Employment Opportunity Commission process.
After you file the complaint, an EEOC or SCHAC staff member will interview you and evaluate the case. If the interviewer believes a Charge of Discrimination is timely and has merit, you’ll receive a document to sign. We can review that for you and make sure it says exactly when you need it to say. Many a case has been lost because employee haven’t noticed a misstatement or misinterpretation that comes back to haunt them.
Depending on the caseload, the charge process can extend for years. If it takes too long, we can help you pursue a “right to sue” letter that lets you take the case to the court system.
In the meantime, if an employer attempts to punish you further because you’ve filed a charge of discrimination, we can help you with a retaliation complaint, too.