Procedure for Proceeding with Employment Law Cases
A Philadelphia employment discrimination attorney should have the necessary experience to represent an employee throughout an employment discrimination case. Most employment discrimination cases cannot be commenced by immediately filing a lawsuit in federal or state court. The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) was authorized and formed as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to enforce employment discrimination laws under a federal law, known as, Title VII, which prohibits race discrimination, sex discrimination, religious discrimination, national original discrimination, and sexual harassment. The EEOC is also responsible for enforcing other employment discrimination laws, such as claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which prohibits disability discrimination, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), which prohibits employment discrimination based on an employee’s age, and the Equal Pay Act (EPA), which mandates equal pay for equal work and applies when women are paid less that men who work in the same job.
Prior to initiating the filing of a lawsuit in federal court for employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, an employee must first file a Charge of discrimination with the EEOC. A Charge of discrimination is a document which outlines the facts of an employment discrimination claim, provides specific information about an employee and alleges the employment discrimination laws that an employer violated at the workplace. The Charge is the first formal legal document that is filed and it is critical that the Charge be as accurate as possible. It is essential that an employee consult with an experienced employment law attorney before filing the Charge to make sure that the Charge is filed properly and that it fully protects all of the employee’s rights.
Once the Charge is filed with the EEOC, according to EEOC regulations, the EEOC is then responsible for investigating the Charge. The first step of the process is for the EEOC to notify the employer (known as the Respondent) that a Charge has been filed and the EEOC asks the employee for the Employer’s Position Statement and documents that concern the facts at issue in the Charge of discrimination. When the employer is notified about the Charge, the Philadelphia EEOC office offers the employer the option of participating in a voluntary mediation. Mediation is a process whereby the employee or former employee and his or her lawyer, and the employer, and its attorney, agree to meet at the Philadelphia EEOC office before a free mediator appointed the Philadelphia EEOC office. The mediator will attempt to assist the employer and employee to work out a settlement of the employment discmariont claim to which all parties agree. Abramson Employment Law has been able to settle many cases for our employee clients at Philadelphia EEOC mediations.
Unfortunately, the reality is that largely due to severely constrained resources, the EEOC is most often unable to timely investigate a Charge of discrimination. Even where an investigation is conducted, the EEOC does not often make Cause Determinations and the EEOC rarely files lawsuits on behalf of employment discrimination victims. Do not be discouraged. Andrew Abramson is an experienced employment discrimination attorney who can help! Regardless of the EEOC’ s action, it is possible to ultimately file a case in Federal Court and later favorably resolve the matter, even when the EEOC does not find in favor of an employee.
A common misconception is that an employee who files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC must wait for the EEOC to fully investigate the Charge (which may take years). For all types of employment discrimination other than age, 180 days after a Charge is filed with the EEOC, an employee has a right to request a notice of right to sue from the EEOC and then a lawsuit can be filed in court. For age discrimination claims, an employee only has to wait 60 days from the time that the Charge has been filed to file a lawsuit in federal court.
Pennsylvania employees may also file claims of discrimination under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. To do so, an employee must file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC). The PHRC serves a similar function for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as the EEOC does for employment discrimination claims alleging violation of federal law.
Employment discrimination claims involve many complicated procedures and nuances for which an experienced employment law attorney can be of great assistance to an employee in order to navigate through the process. At Abramson Employment Law, we are very familiar with the procedures and processes of both the EEOC and the PHRC. It is critical that if at all possible an attorney representing an employee become involved as early as possible, even before an employee files an initial Charge with the EEOC or PHRC. Nevertheless, sometimes our clients do not contact us until after they file a Charge and we then become immediately involved.
It is critical to note that there are time constraints in filing a Charge of employment discrimination. In Pennsylvania, you must file your Charge with the EEOC within 300 days of employment discrimination incident, however, you have only 180 days to file with the PHRC. If you have a claim of employment discrimination, you should consult with a Philadelphia employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us right away.