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How long can an EEOC investigation take?

Los Angeles, CA |

From 2002 -2004 I filed a discrimination complaint at the EEOC against Pharmacy Supervisor, HR official, investigator, and others in HR, as well as two pharmacist for retaliation, and various discriminatory acts. On November 2003, and December 2003 two other employees went with me to report the same individuals and abuses a charge was filed. I also turned in a written complaint from another female employee who was retaliated against. On March 2004 I returned to the EEOC and was asked to name everyone involved in the retaliation and was given a copy of the charge. Since that time none of us ever received a "right to sue" letter or ever heard from the EEOC. I read recently that there is no time limit in an EEOC investigation, is this possible?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

If you have heard nothing about your administrative complaint in eight years, it is highly likely that it has been lost, abandoned, or is otherwise unaccounted for. MIA. I do not think that a non-class action matter could conceivably take this long. There is almost certainly a problem. I am not certain that the problem is solvable -- the employer has certain rights, too. But by all means you should pursue finding out what the heck happened.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.

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Posted

EEOC investigations can take two or three years, and sometimes more, depending on the stafing level of the office in which the case if filed and the way the EEOC categorizes the charge of discrimination.

The EEOC instituted Priority Case Handling Procedures (PCHP) by which cases are categorized as A , B or C cases. A cases are the strongest. They are cases where discrimination appears likely. Other A cases are those that involve an issue the EEOC wants to deal with, or involve a lot of people or multiple charges against the same employer, or policy issues.

A1 cases are A cases that the EEOC identifies as appropriate for litigation.

A2 cases are A cases that are not appropriate for litigation, most often because the employer is a public agency and the EEOC is prohibited from litigating against a public agency.

C are cases for which the EEOC does not have jurisdiction (power) over. C cases are those where the time limit to file is passed, the charging party provided self-defeating information, there is no employer-employee relationship, or it isn't an issue the EEOC deals with.

B cases are everything else and typically require further investigation.

B– (B minus) cases are B cases that look doubtful, but just might have something to them.

I agree with Ms. McCall that if you have nothing whatsoever for eight years, something is wrong. I urge you to contact the EEOC immediately and try to find out what happened. Be sure to have your EEOC charge with you when you call so you can provide the Charge Number.

There is a process where the EEOC can re-open a case that it closed in error, but that probably has time limits, and maybe those have passed by now. If you feel strongly about your case, you may wish to hire an attorney to find out what happened and what your options are. You can expect to pay at least $1,000 for this service, as surely it will take several hours of work.

However, I suspect the case is not all that important to you or you would have made contact with the EEOC years ago to find out what was going on. I may be wrong, of course.

Employment law is complicated and fact specific. You may wish to speak with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org, and you can search for attorneys by location and practice area.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

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