I filed a disability discrimination on my employer as well as retaliation. I have submitted evidence - pertinent evidence - disclosing my charge as well as emails and witnesses, also failure to comply with a job accommodation. Should I request my right to sue letter?
In theory, the EEOC will investigate every charge and make a decision whether to pursue each charge with its own staff and attorneys, or it will give the charging party a right-to-sue letter which will allow the charging party to file a lawsuit on his or her own behalf.
The entire process can take a long time, often more than two years, and in the end, it is unlikely the EEOC will pursue the case. The bad economy has left most state and federal agencies with smaller staffs, larger workloads, and not nearly enough funding to meet their mission. Some EEOC offices are closing cases which were never investigated, again due to a lack of agency resources.
The reality is that an individual victimized by discrimination will probably need to pursue the case using a private attorney. Even so, the law requires going through the EEOC process before filing a lawsuit.
Don't ask for a right-to-sue letter until you have an attorney. You only have 90 days to file a lawsuit in court after getting the right-to-sue letter, and that is very little time from an attorney's perspective. It may take you weeks to find an attorney, and the attorney may be busy and need weeks to even start drafting the lawsuit.
Here in San Diego, it usually takes two years for the EEOC to issue its determination. If your case has been pending for three years, you should contact the EEOC and make sure your case was not closed by mistake.
Because employment law is complicated and fact specific, you may also wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney in your state.
I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.
Disclaimer: I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.
*** 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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