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How long should I wait to hear from EEOC before get with an attorney to pursue my retaliation case against my former employer?

Fort Worth, TX |

I am suing my previous employer in federal court for retaliation and a handful of other state charges such as constructive/wrongful termination. The EEOC is supposed to be investigating it after I filed a charge and request for mediation, but I wonder how long it will take them to mail me a right to sue if the investigator throws it out.

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Attorney answers 4


The EEOC will issue you a right to sue now if you make a demand. But the issuance of the Notice starts some critical and relatively short time lines running, so it is often strategically sound to get your attorney in place in advance of the issuance of the notice.

Don't put much stock in the EEOC's investigative determination, if an investigation occurs at all. The agency is fatally under-staffed, dreadfully back-logged, and its investigative decisions have never been a truly meaningful recourse for most claimants. Remember, the EEOC does not represent you.

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Query: You can ask for a Notice of Right to Sue Letter now if you do not want to wait for EEOC to either start or finish its investigation. You must file in federal court within 90 days of its issuance. If you have not received the Notice of Right to Sue and have now filed in federal court based upon Title VII, the court lacks jurisdiction. However, you may meet jurisdictional requirements predicated on diversity or state court actions if your damages exceed the jurisdictional amount. If EEOC is aggressively investigating your complaint, you may well benefit from its investigation. It could save you discovery costs. However, there is nothing precluding you and your lawyer from double tracking with the investigation of the EEOC. This means that while EEOC is conducting its investigation, your attorney can likewise deploy an investigator to interview key witnesses, etc.

This answer is predicated on the facts provided in which the lawyer cannot confirm or verify. I do not represent you as we do not have an attorney-client relationship.


From my experience, after the EEOC notifies you (if by phone; I don't know whether the Commission calls folks who don't retain a lawyer during the EEOC process, for I represent clients from the start, namely before they even file a charge) that it hasn't found a violation, it will issue your Notice of Right to Sue pretty soon. You then have 90 days (at least on the federal side) from the date of receipt of your letter to file suit. However, sometimes the EEOC will not call me, and will simply issue my client the NRS.

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After 180 days, you have the right to request the issuance of a right to sue letter, and the EEOC is obligated to issue it. Aside from that, there are no firm time lines. If you request a right to sue letter before the 180 days have run, you may get a notice from the EEOC warning that you could be waiving your rights by making the request before the 180 day period has run. Otherwise, I have seen investigators issue right to sue letters on their own in as little as 10 days, but it is probably more common to see them do nothing at all for 180 days.

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