Discrimination in Employment
An employer may not discriminate against an individual on the basis of his or her race, color, sex (including pregnancy), age, religion, national origin or disability. In addition, an employer may not discriminate against an individual in retaliation for participating in a protected activity (such as filing a charge of discrimination against your employer, complaining about discrimination or participating in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit for yourself or another individual).
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing the laws related to discrimination in the above areas. Generally, these laws apply to employers with 15 or more employees.
The first step you must take if you feel that you have been discriminated against for one of the above reasons is to contact the EEOC and file a Charge of Discrimination. This charge of discrimination must be filed within 180 days from when the discrimination took place. It is very important that the charge of discrimination is timely filed.
Once you have filed a charge of discrimination against your employer, the investigators with the EEOC will conduct an investigation. Your employer will be advised that you have filed a charge of discrimination and they will be given an opportunity to respond to the charges. Some cases are able to be resolved through medication in the EEOC process. If the case is not resolved, the EEOC will then either issue a Determination (finding that the employer did discriminate against you) or will give you a Right to Sue if they did not find evidence of a violation. Even if the EEOC does not find evidence of a violation, this does not mean you are not able to file suit. Once the EEOC issues the Right to Sue letter, you will have 90 days to file suit in court against your employer.