The EEOC is a federal agency that investigates claims of employment discrimination. If you think you have been fired in violation of EEOC regulations you must file a claim with the EEOC.
Before you can file a lawsuit against an employer for discrimination you must file a charge with the closet office of the EEOC. This claim should layout the type of discrimination you have faced, when you experienced it, and a brief statement of facts. It is not necessary to hire an attorney to fill out this claim and start the process. However, you will often be better prepared if you discuss your case with an attorney experienced in filing these types of claims. The EEOC will assign your claim to an investigator who will determine whether you should be given a "Right to Sue" letter. You must be given a right to sue letter before you can file a lawsuit against your employer. Normally, the process of investigating your claim and determining your right to sue takes anywhere from 3 - 9 months. Once you are given the right to sue you have 90 days to file a lawsuit, if at all.
Once you get the right to sue letter the next step is filing a lawsuit in federal court. Lawsuits are expense, and in federal court you could be looking at well over $10,000 in legal fees. The best time to negotiate with an employer who has discriminated against you is prior to receiving your right to sue letter. This is why it is important to contact an experienced attorney as quickly as possible.