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Feb 02

How to Win an EEOC Complaint in California

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for enforcing workplace regulations throughout all industries in the United States. It is also the agency responsible for investigating and addressing complaints of workplace misconduct, namely regulatory violations, harassment, and discrimination. If you have experienced mistreatment in your workplace due to your race, ethnicity, religion, or any other protected quality, or if you have been wrongfully terminated or denied employment due to an employer’s discriminatory practices, you will likely need to file an EEOC complaint to hold the employer accountable.

Facing discriminatory treatment in the workplace can be distressing, isolating, and frustrating. However, you cannot simply file a civil claim against an employer that has mistreated you. Before you can hold an employer legally accountable, you must file a claim outlining your experience with the EEOC. The EEOC will appoint an investigator to your claim and verify its details. If the EEOC determines your experience qualifies for legal action, it will issue you a Notice of Right to Sue that allows you to proceed with a lawsuit against your employer. It may even initiate legal action on your behalf in response to an employer’s egregious misconduct.

How to File an EEOC Complaint

One of the best things you can do to increase your chance of success with an EEOC complaint is to hire an experienced employment law attorney to represent you. Your legal team can carefully review the details of your situation and help you complete the necessary steps you will need to fulfill to hold the employer accountable for its actions. The EEOC provides a relatively straightforward claim process, and you can find the required forms on the EEOC website. Your attorney can help you complete the forms and gather any supporting documents you will need to submit along with them.

You need to determine the grounds on which you will file your complaint. The EEOC enforces strict regulations for employers to maintain fair and equitable workplaces, and any violations of the EEOC’s rules can lead to complaints from affected employees. Most EEOC complaints filed in the US pertain to issues such as:

  • Sexual harassment in the workplace. This can include anything from overt sexual battery to constant sexual remarks, requests for sexual favors, or demands for sexual favors in exchange for work-related benefits.
  • Discrimination against protected personal qualities. Employers may have the right to fire employees at will in California, but they do not have the right to base hiring and firing decisions on illegal, discriminatory reasons.
  • Hostile work environments are caused by discrimination and retaliation. For example, if mistreatment at work prevents an employee from performing their job duties, this is a hostile work environment, and the employee has the right to file an EEOC complaint in response.
  • Regulatory violations pertaining to discriminatory hiring and firing practices. Employees can report their employers to the EEOC if they learn their employers engage in illegal, discriminatory practices.

If you are unsure whether your situation qualifies for an EEOC complaint, it’s best to consult an attorney. These cases are often challenging to prove, and the average person is unlikely to succeed with an EEOC complaint without legal representation.

What Can an Employment Law Attorney Do for Me?

One of the most challenging aspects of any employment law dispute is proving that an employer’s actions were illegal. Unfortunately, almost all employment in the US functions on an “at-will” basis, meaning both an employee and an employer can terminate their work relationship at will, with or without a specific reason or prior notice. As a result, it’s relatively easy for an employer to fire an employee for a discriminatory reason and hide behind at-will employment laws to disguise their motives. However, an experienced employment law attorney can help their client gather the evidence they will need to prove the truth behind a wrongful firing or other forms of discrimination.

FAQs

Q: What Are the Chances of Winning an EEOC Case?

A: The EEOC has a very high success rate when it comes to court decisions, reaching favorable outcomes in nearly 96% of all district court cases stemming from EEOC complaints. If the EEOC investigates your claim and determines you have a case, you will still need to proceed with your lawsuit. However, having the EEOC’s support behind your claim substantially increases your chance of success with your civil claim against the employer.

Q: How Do I Win an EEOC Discrimination Complaint?

A: Hiring a qualified and experienced employment law attorney is the best way to increase your chance of success with an EEOC complaint. Your attorney can help you gather the evidence you will need to substantiate your claim and can correspond with EEOC representatives on your behalf. Remember that you do not necessarily need to “win” your EEOC complaint; you need to secure the EEOC’s approval to proceed with your civil claim.

Q: What Is the Average EEOC Settlement?

A: The amount the EEOC awards for employment discrimination varies based on the size of the employer. For employers with 15 to 100 employees, the maximum award is $50,000. For 101 to 200 employees, the limit increases to $100,000, and it increases further to $200,000 when the employer has 201 to 500 employees.

Q: What Qualifies for an EEOC Complaint?

A: You have the right to file a complaint with the EEOC if you have been unfairly treated at work due to your personal protected qualities, such as your age, race, sex, religion, medical status, and other personal traits. You can also file an EEOC complaint if this treatment led to wrongful termination or harassment at work.

It’s easy to feel isolated and distressed when you have experienced a hostile work environment or any other adverse treatment from an employer due to discrimination. It can seem like your employer is perfectly insulated from repercussions for this behavior by the at-will employment law of California, but this is not the case. Contact Clark Employment Law, APC, today and schedule a consultation with our team to learn how we can help you succeed with an EEOC complaint and hold your employer accountable for the mistreatment you experienced.

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