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What will happen to my currently open case if I request a right-to-sue letter? Should I wait to get a good lawyer first? Or wait

Miami, FL |

I filed a charged against my former employer at the time that I was employed with them through the EEOC nearly 1 year ago for race and disability discrimination. Prior to filing this claim, I have attempted to resolve ongoing issues that I had with my manager with HR, however, I was being turned away and ignored. The EEOC investigator told me that based on the info that I provided that my issues raises concerns and were clearly acts of discrimination by my employer. I would like to take the best route in handling this claim to ensure that I can rightfully and winningly resolve this matter through litigation, if that makes sense... (thank you). I have yet to receive a response from EEOC, I have contacted them via phone and mail. I would like to go in person soon but need to be prepared.

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Attorney answers 2


You should find out if the investigation has been concluded. If so, you may request a Right to Sue Letter, but before you do so, you should contact an attorney who conducts discrimination lawsuits. There is a difference between suits for race discrimination and ADA suits which are disability based. See a lawyer immediately as the statute of limitations is very short. Also, I would recommend that you refrain from posting detailed facts (so far so good) on AVVO or social media and consult with counsel. It seems like an enormous amount of time has passed, but sometimes these investigations take time. Ask the EEOC investigator if he has a time frame on completion?

ALSO>You should review which provides:

"If you plan to file a lawsuit alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, genetic information, or retaliation, you first have to file a charge with one of our field offices (unless you plan to bring your lawsuit under the Equal Pay Act, which allows you to go directly to court without filing a charge). We will give you what is called a “Notice-of-Right-to- Sue” at the time we dismiss your charge, usually, after completion of an investigation. However, we may dismiss for other reasons, including failure to cooperate in an investigation. This notice gives you permission to file a lawsuit in a court of law. Once you receive a Notice-of-Right-to- Sue, you must file your lawsuit within 90 days. We cannot extend this deadline except when the District Director gives the parties a written notice of intent to reconsider before the deadline for filing a lawsuit. If you don’t file in time, you may be prevented from going forward with your lawsuit.

Exceptions When Filing a Lawsuit

If you plan to file an age discrimination lawsuit, you won’t need a Notice of Right-to-Sue to file in court. You can file anytime after 60 days have passed from the day you filed your charge (but no later than 90 days after you receive notice that our investigation is concluded).

BUT - Filing Before the Investigation is Completed
If you want to file a lawsuit before we have finished our investigation, you can request a Notice of Right-to-Sue. If more than 180 days have passed from the day you filed your charge, we are required by law to give you the notice if you ask for it. If fewer than 180 days have passed, we will only give you the notice if we will be unable to finish our investigation within 180 days. You should request the Notice of Right-to-Sue in writing and send it to the Director of the EEOC office where your charge is filed. Include in your request the names of the parties and, if possible, your charge number. Once you have been given a Notice of the Right-to-Sue, we will close the case and take no further action. So if you want EEOC to continue investigating your charge, don’t request the Notice of Right-to-Sue.

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You need to understand that the EEOC decision is not legally binding - meaning the decision does not automatically lead to an enforceable damages claim. In almost all cases the EEOC will not find discrimination- and people think that's the end of the claim. The Right to Sue Letter, gives you the right to file a lawsuit or start the administrative process - depending on your situation. Different attorneys approach these cases in different ways. I try to help the EEOC investigator and suggest records and witnesses to subpoena, and other investigatory activities. These cases are the hardest kind of cases that I do in my practice - my practice is predominantly a workers compensation, personal injury, and disability practice - but I love a good discrimination case and do a few every year. I say that wrongful termination/Discrimination/Retaliation cases are the hardest to prove because the evidence is often indirect - it isn't like you get a file from the Employer that says "Let's fire the old guy". You have to develop the proof from the documents you have and what witnesses hear and observe. I recommend strongly that you consult with an experienced employment attorney in your area of the state. I hope this is helpful.