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Where and When to File a Charge of Discrimination, Harassment or Retaliation

If you believe you may have been the victim of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation in the workplace, please contact The Coffey Law Office. We have extensive experience in this area. Even if your claim is not ready or “ripe” for filing, the professionals at The Coffey Law Office can and will listen and try to offer helpful suggestions.

This is a very intricate area of the law with many pitfalls for the unwary. What you do prior to filing a claim may very well have a profound impact for better, or for worse, in the end. While you certainly can file a charge of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation on your own, you need to be aware of time limitations and a few other nuances of this area of the law.

To proceed on your own, you would first need to get in touch with your state’s civil rights commission. In Illinois, you need to contact and/or pull up and read through the websites for the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Don’t delay in filing a charge because in Illinois you only have 300 days to do so from the date of the alleged discriminatory act. In other states, the limitations period may be as little as 180 days. The Statute of Limitations here is very short when compared to other types of claims, so act quickly.

When you contact The Coffey Law Office to discuss your potential claims, we will provide you with more detail regarding the applicable time period within which you must file any charge. There are a variety of ways to file a charge and they include by phone, online or in person. You can visit the EEOC and/or the IDHR office that is closest to you. Once you have decided which route to go, all you will need when you file your claim is your name, phone number and address. It is strongly recommended that you provide details about your employer, what the alleged discrimination is, when it took place and for how long.

If possible, also be prepared to provide names of similar situated employee who you believe received more favorable treatment than you under comparable circumstances. The more quality, detailed information you can provide, the better your chances of having your charge investigated to the fullest possible extent.

One thing to keep in mind about the EEOC is that they have the power to examine any charges and claims that deal with unlawful discrimination/harassment/retaliation cases, and may also make judgments in them. Regardless of what they think of the merits of your charge, they will issue you a “Notice of Right to Sue” when they have completed their process.

Keep in mind when filing an EEOC claim or a charge that you should be as precise as possible when outlining what you perceive to be discriminatory acts or events. Make sure any documentation you have is sent in with the charge or claim and if you have witnesses provide their contact information. These are the things that you should be discussing with The Coffey Law Office.

After the charge has been filed, the EEOC starts an investigation, contacts the names of witnesses you have provided, and examines any documents sent in with your complaint plus checks with other people who may have information about your situation. While the investigation is underway, your employer is barred from taking any action against you because it may be looked upon as retaliation which will in turn add more charges and penalties.

If the case investigated has merit, the EEOC may try conciliation with all the parties involved in order to reach an agreement. In some instances, the finding may be for the other party, which would allow you to take your claim to court. If there is no finding of discrimination, they let you know and send you a right to sue letter, as noted above.

The right to sue notice gives you the right to file a lawsuit in Federal Court within 90 days of your receipt of the notice. Once again, at The Coffey Law Office, these matters are very familiar to us and we ask that you contact us as soon as you think you may have been the victim of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation. Federal and State discrimination laws are relatively complex, and having a skilled attorney represent your interests is a wise decision.

At The Coffey Law Office we take the time to listen to your concerns, ask for all the pertinent details and then we operate on an investigate, evaluate and negotiate basis. This means that The Coffey Law Office will only charge a one-time, non-refundable fee for assessing the merits of your case. The fee is based on your financial ability to pay and the extent of the work required determining if the case is meritorious. This does not necessarily mean that The Coffey Law Office will litigate your case, but it will definitely let you know your legal rights and whether or not you do indeed have grounds to proceed to litigation.

At The Coffey Law Office, we value our clients and deal with them in a no nonsense, straightforward manner. We tell them what they need to know to make informed decisions, not what they want to hear. Call us today for some straight talk about your case. We won’t keep you in the dark and promise you the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but we will let you know where you stand legally.