The EEOC in DC is responsible for investigating charges of discrimination in the workplace that occur within their jurisdictional area. While many people have heard of the EEOC, few know what they do or why they need to work with the organization. Here are the basics you should know before filing a complaint with the EEOC.
Why Should I File a Claim with the EEOC in DC?
If you are located in the District of Columbia, the Washington Field Office has jurisdiction over your case (If you are in Maryland it would be the Baltimore Field Office). You must file your complaint with the EEOC before filing a lawsuit against your employer. This step is legally required. In other words, you should file a claim with the EEOC in DC because you have to.
However, you don’t have to file it on your own. An EEOC employment attorney (the Quinn Law Group) can file it on your behalf and communicate with the EEOC investigator on your behalf. “We find that the process of completing the forms and responding to formal requests by the EEOC can be stressful for people who have already suffered discrimination in the workplace,” said Don Quinn, Quinn Law Group. “Hiring an employment attorney makes the process easier and ensures that the forms and subsequent documentation are created and filed correctly.”
The EEOC in DC Enforces the Law (sort of)
The EEOC enforces specific laws. These are the:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII)
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA)
Equal Pay Act (EPA)
What this means in actuality is that an employee (or former employee) needs to file a complaint with the EEOC in order to sue their employer (or former employer). EEOC enforcement consists of conducting an “investigation” and sometimes they will try to mediate the case to reach a resolution. On rare occasions, the EEOC will prosecute the case against the employer. That’s why we say that the EEOC “sort of” enforces the law. More often than not, the EEOC will decline to prosecute the employer and instead, issue a right-to-sue letter, even if the case against the employer is strong.
What to Do with an EEOC Right to Sue Letter
An EEOC right-to-sue letter grants the employee the right to file a lawsuit in civil court against their employer (or former employer). It is the responsibility of the employee to find a private attorney, retain them and pay for the cost of litigation. The EEOC only pays for the cost of litigation if they choose to prosecute the case themselves (very rare).
Important: You typically only have 90 days to file a lawsuit in court after the EEOC in DC issues a right-to-sue letter. That means you need to move quickly to find an EEOC attorney, hire them and get them the information they need to file a lawsuit. You do not want to wait until the last minute or miss this deadline. Once the 90 days have passed you will have lost the opportunity to sue your employer for the instance of discrimination or retaliation.
To file a case with the EEOC in DC (or to discuss your legal options), schedule a free consultation with attorney Don Quinn. The information we presented in this article is important to consider but it’s not legal advice. For that, you need to speak with an attorney.