Can an employment discrimination/retaliation complaint contain counts for laws in 2 states? If actions occurred in both?

Asked almost 3 years ago - New York, NY

The agency I work for discriminated and retaliated against me in NY and an EEOC complaint was filed in NY. While EEOC investigated the office was moved to NJ and retaliation continued. Could I file a complaint with retaliation counts that violate NY and NJ laws, in US district court in NY or file the complaint with just the NY counts?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. L. Maxwell Taylor

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Technically, yes (assuming the court has jurisdiction over the private employer). But whether it is a good idea to do so is a strategic question best explored with an experienced litigator licensed to practice before the relevant courts. Which court it is best to file in is also a strategic question. Don't try to do this pro se.

    Not legal advice, just my two cents. I don't practice law in New York or New Jersey or hold licensure in either place. If you need legal advice, and I THINK YOU DO NEED LEGAL ADVICE, please consult a lawyer who holds licensure in those states.

  2. Arthur H. Forman


    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A discrimnation complaint can be filed in any US District Court based upon a violation of federal discrimination laws. Whether you can add state claims for NY and NJ is a complex technical question. I would guess that other technical problems will develop, and you will be at a significant disadvantage if you try to fight this on your own. It would be best if you retained an attorney to handle the case in District Court.

  3. Vincent Peter White

    Contributor Level 18


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Certainly would would want to consolidate your claims in a single Federal Court action at some point, but there could be tactical reasons why at this stage you may wish to have 2 EEOC offices in 2 separate states involved and separately investigating the occurrences in each state.

    I suggest you contact an experienced employment attorney and arrange a free consultation to discuss your options.

    This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any... more
  4. James M. Osak

    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is what's known as a "Complex Civil Procedure" question.
    You definitely want to SIMPLIFY your lawsuit so as not to
    confuse and bore the judge(s). What agency did you work for?
    State (NY) or Federal? If it was a state agency, you would file
    it in state court or federal court. I don't like suing a state agency
    in it's own court, I would file it federally, that scares them more!
    If you worked for a federal agency, then your answer is federal
    court. When you file, just tell the story simple and sweet. Add in
    all the applicable laws (NY, NJ and Federal) as needed to tell
    your tale and show how you were violated. If needed, the
    other side or the judge(s) will explain what laws cover your
    action, and there might need to be an amended complaint
    later. If this is too complex, hire an attorney. Good luck.


Related Topics


Employment law governs employee pay, non-discrimination policies, employment classifications, and hiring and firing at the federal, state, and local levels.

Discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace is when one or more employees are treated unfavorably, based on characteristics like age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

29,857 answers this week

3,364 attorneys answering

Ask a Lawyer

Get answers from top-rated lawyers.

  • It's FREE
  • It's easy
  • It's anonymous

29,857 answers this week

3,364 attorneys answering