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EEOC Right-to-Sue Letter
(Definition With 5 Common Examples)

An EEOC Right-to-Sue letter is a document issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to individuals who have filed charges alleging employment discrimination, harassment, or retaliation which authorizes that person to proceed with a lawsuit in court.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is the EEOC?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is a federal agency that was established in 1964 to enforce civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. The commission investigates discrimination complaints based on a person's race, color, nationality, religion, sex, age, disability, or genetic information. EEOC also mediates and settles thousands of discrimination complaints each year prior to their investigation.

What is Discrimination in the Workplace?

Employment discrimination is an illegal act of discrimination in the workplace based on legally protected characteristics. Federal laws prohibit discrimination by employers against employees based on age, race, gender, sex, religion, national origin, and physical or mental disability. Various state and local laws may also protect additional characteristics including marital status, veteran status, and caregiver/familial status.

Related Article: Workplace Investigations Employee Rights

Employment Discrimination Examples

EEOC laws protect individuals from employment discrimination when it involves:

  1. Unfair treatment due to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information.
  2. Harassment by managers, co-workers, or others in the workplace because of the above factors.
  3. Denial of a reasonable workplace change that you require due to religious beliefs or disability.
  4. Improper questions about your genetic information or medical records.
  5. Retaliation because an employee complained about job discrimination or took part in a job discrimination proceeding.

Why Does Workplace Discrimination Still Take Place?

Despite EEOC laws that prohibit discriminatory treatment, workplace discrimination still occurs in today's society with shocking regularity. Conversations about race, culture, political views, gender, and sexual orientation often end with unresolved issues. This, conversely, leads to problems in the workplace, which affects relationships with coworkers, your business reputation, productivity, and success.

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How Long Do I Have to File a Discrimination Lawsuit?

Once you have received your EEOC right-to-sue letter, you have 90 days to file a discrimination lawsuit in court. However, before filing your claim, you must file a charge with the commission. This charge has to be filed within 180 days of the discriminatory act taking place. But if you also plan on filing a state charge for employment discrimination, the deadline is extended to 300 days.

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