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Bringing a Discrimination Lawsuit

By Thomas McKinney

When a person or group of people have suffered adverse employment actions as a result of their membership in a particular protected class, such as one based on race, sex, religion, or age, then an employment discrimination action may follow as a result. After all, unlawful workplace discrimination can cause an employee to greatly and wrongfully suffer. The law provides a means for them to pursue legal recourse and remedies to help rectify the wrong that has occurred. A discrimination claim does not, however, necessarily start out as a lawsuit. In fact, it often must work its way through an administrative agency prior to any lawsuit being necessary. Let’s take a look at the process of bringing a discrimination lawsuit.

Bringing a Discrimination Lawsuit

To begin the discrimination claims process, you have the option of filing your claim with either the state administrative agency, which is the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) or the federal administrative agency, which is the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These administrative agency have an active work-sharing agreement fostering cooperation between the two agencies in order to effectively process claims. It should be noted that if you plan on or may want to bring your discrimination lawsuit in federal court, you are required to first exhaust your administrative remedies which means you must first file your claim and have it processed by the EEOC.

When filing your claim with the EEOC, you will be given a copy of your charge along with your charge number. Within 10 days of filing your claim, you will be sent a notice and copy of the charge to the employer by the EEOC. Should the EEOC elect to further investigate your claim, the agency may proceed with gathering necessary documents as well as interviewing relevant witnesses. Upon completion of the investigation, the EEOC will notify both you and the employer of the result. You may also be issued a “Notice of Right to Sue.” This notice gives you permission to proceed with filing your lawsuit in court.

In some cases, the EEOC or the DCR is able to resolve the claim. As such, it would be unnecessary to file a lawsuit. If the EEOC or the DCR did not resolve your case, then you may wish to proceed with filing a lawsuit. Remember, a federal employment discrimination case must first go through the EEOC so that the administrative remedies have been exhausted. State discrimination cases, however, need not go through an administrative agency and may be brough directly in state court. If you are going to file a lawsuit, be mindful of the relevant statute of limitations. For instance, a federal discrimination lawsuit must be filed in court within 90 days of receiving the “Notice of Right to Sue” issued by the EEOC. Failure to file suit in a timely manner could result in you being barred from bringing your claim to court.

Employment Law Attorneys

Do you believe you have suffered employment discrimination, but do not know how to proceed? That is what the dedicated employment law team at Castronovo & McKinney is here for! Contact us today.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.