What are the basic FAQs when filing discrimination charges?
There is a time limit!
The clock starts on the day the discrimination took place. From there, you have 180 days to file your charge of discrimination. There are a few exceptions and in some cases the time limit can extended to 300 days if state or local laws also prohibit employment discrimination, however, it depends on the state.
Additionally, the clock does not stop if you choose to address the complaint using other processes such as using your workplace's process for dealing with complaints, or going through your union, or using mediation. That's why it's so important to contact your EEOC to speak to a representative about filing a charge even if you plan to pursue other procedures. At the very least, find out how much time you have to file a complaint through the EEOC even if you are not sure you want to.
Multiple incidents of discrimination?
If there is more than one event of discrimination then the timeline above will apply to each event, unless it's considered ongoing discrimination or harassment.
Ongoing harassment and discrimination is looked at differently. The EEOC will look at the date of the last event of discrimination or harassment to see if it was filed within the 180/300 day limit. Then they'll look at all the events together.
Multiple types of discrimination?
According to the EEOC, many people can suffer from multiple types of discrimination in the workplace. For instance, a worker can file a claim that alleges that their employer simultaneously violated the Equal Pay Act and Title VII by discriminating based on sex in the payment of wages.
These cases are often complex and the timeline for filing a charge may be dependent on multiple factors, so the EEOC recommends contacting them to learn more about your options and time-frames.