As to most forms of discrimination, you must first file a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and/or a state human rights agency before you can sue. There are complex rules as to how long these charges must remain with the agency with which you file. Ultimately, you will either receive a notice of right to sue, which gives you a limited time in which to commence a lawuit, or you may request such a letter.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
I am a California attorney and not eligible to give legal advice in your state. The following is information only.
The United States Congress established the EEOC, and administrative agency, to handle certain claims of discrimination and included a requirement that these claims be brought directly to the EEOC, not to court. As mentioned, eventually the EEOC will give the charging party a right-to-sue letter, at which point the charging party can file a lawsuit in court. This is called administrative exhaustion. After the charging party gets the right-to-sue letter, he or she has 90 days to file the lawsuit.
Although Congress charged the EEOC with eliminating covered discrimination, it has not allocated adequate funds for the EEOC to do its job, and over the years, the allocation has continually shrunk.
Your state legislature established the Florida Commission on Human Relations and probably a parallel system.
Many employment attorneys, including me, believe the administrative exhaustion requirement is now just a roadblock, as the agency is unable to do even a perfunctory investigation of most charges brought to it, due to lack of resources (money and personnel).
*** 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. ***
The answer is because that is what the law requires.
The answers given are limited to the facts as given and presumed by the answer itself. Without seeing actual written documentation or having a conference to more fully explore the issues, this short answer has only limited application. Make sure to seek legal counsel and provide all documentation to get assistance in making informed legal choices. Bstein@dcfsz.com, 305 377 1505
The system was originally set up this way by lawmakers with the expectation that the administrative agencies could resolve many claims and make it unnecessary for many matters to be brought as lawsuits before the courts. Over the years, however, this intention has become less significant because the administrative agencies have not been supported with the resources necessary for thorough and timely investigations and effective enforcement in worthy cases.
My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice. I give legal advice only in the course of an attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by individual consultation and execution of a written agreement for legal services.