California Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Lawyer
Schedule Free Consultation
In California, state and federal regulations safeguard your employment rights. These laws are in place to protect you from workplace harassment, retaliation, and discrimination based on race, gender, age, and religion.
If you believe your employment rights have been violated, you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, navigating the complexities of an EEOC claim can be challenging and requires specialized legal expertise.
If you’ve experienced harassment, discrimination, or employment law violations, our California EEOC Lawyers at Berberian Ain, LLP are fully qualified to guide you through the intricacies of your claim and advocate for your rights.
What is an EEOC Complaint?
An EEOC complaint, or charge of employment discrimination, is a formal grievance you file when you believe your employment rights have been violated due to race, gender, age, or religion. This complaint is submitted to the EEOC, the federal agency that enforces laws making it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee.
If you reasonably believe that your employment rights have been violated, you have the right to file this complaint. However, there are certain rules and time limits to keep in mind.
For most types of discrimination, the EEOC requires that you file your claim within 180 calendar days from the date of the alleged violation. In California, the time limit can be extended to 300 calendar days if the discrimination is age-related.
If you’ve experienced multiple incidents of discrimination, each incident may have its own deadline for filing a complaint. The only exception is for ongoing harassment cases, where the EEOC considers the deadline 180 or 300 days from the date of the last harassment incident.
You’re not required to file an EEOC complaint for issues related to unequal pay under the Equal Pay Act. You can take your case directly to court under Section 216(b) of the Equal Pay Act.
Do I Have an EEOC Claim?
The EEOC guidelines prohibit discriminatory behavior in employment, including job advertisements, recruitment terms, pre-employment inquiries, and during the hiring process. Discriminatory behavior includes harassment or retaliation for filing an EEOC claim.
You may have an EEOC claim if you are being unfairly treated, harassed, were denied workplace modifications, or suffered other forms of discrimination based on the following protected categories:
- Race or ethnicity
- National origin
- Age, if 40 or older
- Sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or pregnancy status
- Genetic information
In addition to general discrimination or harassment in employment, you may also be entitled to file an EEOC claim in the following circumstances:
- Harmful workplace policies: When an employer’s policies or practices negatively impact employees belonging to one or multiple protected groups, such as those based on race or gender, it may be grounds for an EEOC complaint. This includes anything from rules that adversely affect employees of a specific ethnicity to incidents of sexual harassment.
- Unequal pay and benefits: If you notice discrepancies in pay, benefits, sick leave, or overtime based on factors like race or ethnicity, this could violate employment law.
- Discrimination against disabled individuals: Employers should not have policies that unfairly discriminate against disabled individuals unless these policies are directly related to job requirements or business operations.
- Age-based discrimination: If you’re 40 or older, policies or rules that discriminate based on age — and aren’t reasonably justified by factors other than age — are prohibited.
- Biased job advertisements and recruiting: Discriminatory job ads or a recruitment process that shows a preference for or against individuals belonging to a protected group could be a red flag.
- Unfair application and hiring: If an employer’s application and hiring process is designed to favor specific categories of individuals over others, it may be violating employment laws.
- Failure to accommodate: Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants when needed, as long as doing so wouldn’t cause significant difficulty or expense. For example, a deaf applicant should be provided with a sign language interpreter upon request.
- Discriminatory management decisions: Favoring or disfavoring employees in job referrals, assignments, or promotions based on protected characteristics like age or race is against the law.
- Prejudicial pre-employment inquiries: Background checks or other pre-employment screening designed to filter out applicants based on protected criteria could be a violation. This includes asking for a photograph before an employment offer is made.
- Discriminatory discipline or termination: Taking disciplinary action or firing an employee based on race, gender, or age could be grounds for an EEOC claim.
- Biased training and apprenticeship programs: If these programs are structured to discriminate against or deny opportunities to individuals based on protected criteria, it’s likely unlawful.
EEOC Complaint Process
Navigating the complexities of employment law can be overwhelming, especially when facing discrimination or harassment at work. That’s why understanding the EEOC reporting process is crucial.
An EEOC lawyer in Glendale can walk you through the steps to file an EEOC complaint and represent your best interests during the procedure:
- Preliminary assessment: Evaluate your situation to determine whether your case falls under the jurisdictions and protections enforced by the EEOC.
- Initiate EEOC reporting: Contact your local EEOC office to start the reporting process. This can often be done online, by phone, or in person. Your initial contact doesn’t constitute an official complaint, but it sets the wheels in motion.
- Fill out EEOC forms: EEOC Complaint Form 5 is the official form for lodging your complaint. You’ll provide details about incidents of discrimination or harassment and information about your employer. Your attorney may have you fill out the California Form CDCR 693 instead, so follow their legal guidance.
- Submit the form: After completing the appropriate EEOC forms, submit it to your local EEOC office within the stipulated time frame (typically 180 calendar days from the incident, although certain circumstances may extend this limit).
What Happens After Filing an EEOC Complaint?
After filing a charge against a member of a business or organization, the EEOC is required to issue a notification to that business or organization within 10 days. The EEOC will then begin the investigation process.
Most EEOC complaints have three outcomes: mediation, investigation, and lawsuits.
- Mediation: During mediation, you and your employer sit down to resolve the dispute, facilitated by a neutral EEOC mediator. While this process can lead to a settlement, having expert legal representation offers several advantages.
An experienced lawyer can help articulate your point of view, provide expert legal guidance, and assist you in understanding the terms and implications of any proposed agreements or settlement offers.
- Investigation: If mediation doesn’t bring a resolution or your case doesn’t go to mediation, the EEOC may proceed with an investigation. Generally, the EEOC takes approximately 10 months to investigate a non-mediated charge.
During this period, the EEOC may ask your employer to provide a position statement, and you may be required to respond. In this phase, your EEOC lawyer will be invaluable, aiding you in delivering accurate information to the EEOC and crafting response statements as needed.
- Filing a lawsuit: Before bringing your case to federal court, you must receive a Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC. These notices are issued when the EEOC either can’t determine a violation of the law or decides not to file a lawsuit. At this point, the role of your EEOC lawyer shifts to assessing the strength of your case, devising a legal strategy, and effectively representing your interests in court.
Berberian Ain, LLP Assists Discrimination Victims
Handling a workplace discrimination case can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you don’t have to go at it alone. The expert EEOC lawyers at Berberian Ain, LLP will guide you through the process and represent your interests.
Contact Berberian Ain, LLP, today to schedule a free consultation and discuss your case.