1. The claims made in the discrimination charge set up all of your future remedies.
When you file your claim, the EEOC and TWC will conduct an investigation into your claims. If they decide there is not enough evidence to take your case they will issue a right to sue letter, which allows you to file your discrimination suit without the EEOC or TWC's help. You can only file suit based upon the information you provide in your charge. If the charge does not have enough information or the right information you may end up with no viable claim or losing viable claims that could have improved your compensation for the discrimination. Although the EEOC and TWC investigators will help you fill out the charge to an extent, they are not lawyers and do not think about what the charge needs to represent about the facts and your claims in the event you have to sue. That is why you need an employment lawyer to help draft the charge to preserve all of your future claims.
2. Employers are using poorly drafted charges against the plaintiffs.
In recent years, employers in Texas have made a huge push to have the courts use the discrimination charges as weapons against discrimination plaintiffs. Employers cry foul when there isn't enough information in the charge and argue the case should be dismissed for failing to provide enough information in the charge. When there is too much information then employers try to box the employee in to only being able to present the facts presented in the charge, although a single page form is almost never enough space to define every fact the employee may want to show to prove discrimination occurred. An employment lawyer can help navigate those extremes to protect your rights and protect your claims.
3. You may have other legal claims against your employer that the charge does not cover.
The discrimination charge will only present claims under employment discrimination law. The EEOC and TWC can only pursue claims under those laws. However, you may have additional claims under state law based upon the discrimination, such as assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conversion and other claims related to the employer's conduct but not limited to the discriminatory effect of the act. (For example, your boss trying to sexually assault you would create a claim under discrimination law and a civil claim for assault.) You need an employment lawyer to determine all possible remedies available to maximize your compensation for the harm you suffered and present the greatest number of feasible options to obtain relief.
4. Employment discrimination claims are legally and factually complex.
Employment discrimination law is a very small subset of law. It is complex and highly dependent on the particular facts of each case. For those reasons, it is poorly understood even by many lawyers and judges, let alone the regular, hardworking employee like yourself who is likely to suffer employment discrimination. Employment discrimination suits are difficult to win, especially when you are trying to manage a case by yourself or even with an attorney who does not regularly practice employment discrimination.
5. The employer will try to take advantage of you if you do not have legal counsel.
Employers love when employees do not hire counsel and expect the EEOC or TWC will just take up the case for them. They will refuse to settle with you or try to make you settle your claims for an unreasonably low amount. They do this because they know once the case hits the complex legal issues at the summary judgment stage you will almost certainly fail and they will have to pay you nothing.
Additional resources provided by the author
If you are in Texas and contemplating filing a discrimination charge you should visit my website for more free information about discrimination claims and discrimination law.
Once you have decided you might have a discrimination claim against your employer or former employer you can contact my office by phone or email through my website.