The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) is the U.S. government agency that handles employment discrimination and retaliation claims under certain federal laws.  Filing a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit alleging certain types of employment claims.

The EEOC also handles hearings and appeals for federal government employees after those claims are investigated by the agency at issue.  


What types of claims does THE EEOC handle?

1.  Unlawful Discrimination / Harassment

Treating an employee adversely because of one or more of the following characteristics

        • Disability 
          • includes requests for reasonable accommodations and employment based medical exams and inquiries;


Prohibited conduct under these laws includes maintaining a hostile work environment (i.e., “harassment”) becuase of one of the above-referenced traits.


2. Unlawful Retaliation

Taking adverse action against an employee for engaging in “protected activity” such as:

      • Complaining to an executive, manager, supervisor or HR about unlawful discrimination or hostile work environment.
      • Filing an EEOC Charge or lawsuit regarding unlawful discrimination or hostile work environment against your current or former employer.
      • Participating in an investigation of another person’s unlawful discrimination or hostile work environment internal complaint, EEOC Charge or lawsuit.
      • Refusing to unlawfully discriminate on behalf of an employer.
      • Requesting reasonable accommodations for a disability or for religious practices.
      • Refusing a supervisor’s sexual advances or other unlawful conduct.
** NOTE:  The EEOC only handles retaliation claims for protected activity under the laws related to workplace discrimination.



    • Individual (“Charging Party”) goes to the EEOC (in person, on the agency’s web site or through an attorney) and files a Charge of Discrimination.  Filing must be within 180 days of the alleged unlawful conduct (discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation).
    • The employer (“Respondent”) subsequently receives a Notice of the EEOC Charge. 


MEDIATION (Voluntary)

    • In some cases, the EEOC will invite the parties to participate in the agency’s mediation program, which is voluntary and free of charge.
    • If the parties are able to settle the Charging Party’s claims at mediation, a settlement agreement is executed. The EEOC Charge then gets dismissed and the legal claims are then considered resolved. 
    • If the parties do not reach a settlement, the Charge gets assigned to the Investigation unit.


INVESTIGATION (If Not Settled at Mediation)

    • The EEOC will ask the employer to submit a “Statement of Position” to address the allegations in the EEOC Charge and provide any relevant documents.
    • The investigator will likely ask the Charging Party to respond to the employer’s submission.
    • The investigator may also contact witnesses and/or request more documents or information.
    • The investigator will issue a determination stating whether the EEOC found enough evidence to support a finding that the employer violated one or more of the laws under the agency’s jurisdiction.


CONCLILIATION (If Violations Are Found)

    • If the EEOC believes that there is sufficient evidence of a legal violation, the Charge moves into the “Conciliation” process.
    • The EEOC will propose a remedy for the Charging Party, which can include back pay, compensatory or liquidated damages (depending on the law at issue), reinstatement, and attorneys’ fees.
    • If the employer does not accept the terms of the conciliation, the EEOC’s legal department will review the file to determine if the agency will pursue the case in court on behalf of the Charging Party.



    • When there is no finding of a legal violation OR conciliation fails and the EEOC chooses not to file a lawsuit, the Charging Party will receive a “Notice of Right to Sue” letter.
    • Once this document is received, the Charging Party will have 90 days to file a lawsuit on the matters raised in the Charge of Discrimination.


  • An employment lawyer will be familiar with the legal elements of the particular claim(s) and will understand what information and evidence are relevant.


  • An employment lawyer will understand how to assess legal exposure for an employer and potential damages for an employee.


  • An employment lawyer can offer persuasive legal arguments to a mediator to help resolve the issues early.
  • An employment lawyer can assist the Investigator by pointing to law and evidence that supports their client’s arguments.

If You Need Representation for an EEOC Claim

Please Submit a Consultation Request 

This web site (including links, blogs or other content) is provided for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal advice.  Any interaction through this web site, including but not limited to any comments or the submission of a consultation request, does not create an expressed or implied attorney-client relationship. 

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