Have you filed a claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR)? These two agencies are responsible for enforcing some civil rights in the U.S. (EEOC) and the state of Florida (FCHR).
If you believe that you have faced discrimination, you can file a claim for their agents to evaluate. Depending on the outcome of that investigation, you may be awarded compensation or the right to seek damages through a lawsuit.
The EEOC and FCHR claim process can present challenges to people who have never experienced it before. This guide will help you understand it so that you know what to expect.
There are some important differences, so we’ll start with the EEOC process.
How does the EEOC claim process work?
The claims process typically works by carrying your complaint through the following steps:
- You speak to an EEO counselor (if federally employed): If you work in the public sector, you should contact the EEO Counselor for the agency where you are employed or have applied for a job.
- You file a claim: You must file a claim by mail or by visiting the EEOC public portal. All complaints must include the documentation of your employment status and claims. You can submit a claim here.
- The claim is reviewed for any problems that could result in immediate dismissal: Your complaint may be dismissed if it is not filed with the right paperwork, or if your complaint does not include prohibited activity.
- The company is notified that a claim has been filed: If the claim meets all requirements, your company will be informed that an investigation is in process. Following this notice, they have several options to resolve the complaint.
- The company is given the chance to settle or mediate: Your company will be given the option of mediating the problem with you and the representative of the EEOC. As part of the mediation, the company may commit to changing practices or agree to pay you compensation.
- The EEOC launches an investigation into legitimate claims: If the company declines to mediate, the EEOC will proceed with a formal investigation to determine if the law has been broken.
- The investigation ends with a ruling: The EEOC will issue a ruling determining if discrimination was involved in your complaint. They may rule against you, but that doesn’t exhaust your options.
- You are given the chance to appeal the ruling: You may appeal your ruling within 30 days of receiving it. To file an appeal, you may need to show that there were mistakes in the original ruling.
- You may be allowed to file a lawsuit: You must complete the administrative process above before you can file a lawsuit.
To file a lawsuit, you must complete one of the following waiting periods:
- 180 days have passed from the day you filed (if the agency has not issued a decision and no appeal has been filed)
- 90 days have passed from the day you received a decision on your complaint, and no appeal has been filed
- 180 days have passed from the day you filed your appeal (if the EEOC has not issued a decision)
- 90 days have passed from the day you receive the decision on your appeal
How long does an EEOC claim take to process?
The EEOC reports that it takes approximately 10 months for them to investigate a charge. Several factors may play a role in how long it takes for your claim to resolve.
It may depend upon:
- The type of discrimination that you are asserting in your claim
- Whether the EEOC needs to conduct interviews as part of the investigation
- Whether the EEOC needs to schedule site inspections
- How much your company or agency is cooperating with EEOC
How does the FCHR claim process work?
The Florida Commission for Human Relations (FCHR) is empowered to enforce the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 (FCRA). This agency has a work-sharing relationship with the EEOC. Many complaints will follow the process below:
- You make an FCHR complaint: To file a claim, you’ll need to submit a complaint through the website, or contact the agency through their contact information. You may choose to cross-file your complaint with the EEOC.
- The FCHR may recommend a mediation: The FCHR will often recommend a confidential meditation as a first action. An FCHR representative will sit with you and a representative of your company or agency to attempt to come to a mutual decision. You may be awarded some damages. If the two parties don’t agree to mediation, or if the mediation reaches an impasse, the FCHR will move forward with an investigation.
- The FCHR completes an investigation: The FCHR has 180 days to investigate your claim. If it finds reasonable cause that discrimination exists, it will formally notify you. If a violation of the law was discovered, the FCHR may proceed with a conciliation attempt. Some investigations may end with no action, but you will be provided with a Notice of Right to Sue.
- You may file an appeal or civil action: If the FCHR does not confirm your claims, you may be able to request an appeal or an administrative hearing.
Do you need to make a discrimation claim?
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) work together to protect the rights of workers and job seekers. You may be able to file a claim with either one of them if you live in the state of Florida and need help.
If you are considering a claim, reach out with your case information and take advantage of the free legal review we provide. There is no obligation, and you a case evaluation can give you guidance and insight you need from a Florida employment lawyer. If your case has merit, we can continue to support you through the claims process by helping you to submit the right evidence, observe the deadlines, and file civil actions.