I assume from your scenario that you are not willing to accept the $3,500. Your options are to negotiate further yourself or hire an attorney to assist with that. An attorney on your side shows the employer that you are willing to bring suit if a satisfactory settlement is not reached. If you would like you can contact me about this. I may be able to help you or find another attorney who can. Under the circumstances, it seems that an attorneys' assistance would be worthwhile.
You either have to go it alone, or hire a lawyer. You won't likely find a competent lawyer willing to guide you through settlement discussions knowing nothing about the case and not getting paid for it. Either settle on something you can be happy with (even though it may not be all you can get), or hire a lawyer. If you are hiring a lawyer, make sure it is a lawyer who primarily handles employment matters (not bankruptcy, personal injury, real estate, other types of litigation, etc.) - it'll be clear from websites and profiles. A lawyer will, of course, get a cut from the settlement so keep that in mind (but a good lawyer can get a better settlement, and maybe even could have gotten a better result from the EEOC).
The amount offered by your employer makes a plain and unambiguous statement that the employer has categorized your claim as a nuisance -- not a significant legal problem. That can be very difficult to unwind. Employers don't put much credence or value in the EEOC's value or recommendations, so realistically you are $14 grand apart. An attorney will want a third at least of whatever can be squeezed from the employer. Maybe an attorney can get the employer up to $10 and then you get 6 or 6 and a half. But maybe the employer will stick at 5 and then you get less than you could have had today.
No one here knows the facts of your case, so there isn't much real value that can be offered. It might have been wiser to have an attorney steering the claim from the get go.
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