Filing a complaint or case based on alleged employment discrimination can be incredibly intimidating, especially when you’re unsure of how your employer will react. It is important to not only be aware of the circumstances of your alleged mistreatment, but of all the little details surrounding your case so that your employer has no reason to dismiss it. These are the potential pitfalls to avoid in employment discrimination cases.
Do believe you’ve been discriminated against? Schedule an appointment with attorney A. Christopher Potts for assistance.
Not All Antidiscrimination Laws Apply To Everyone
Perhaps the most common mistake that potential plaintiffs make when dealing with a discrimination case is filing a complaint under a law that does not apply to them. For example, the South Carolina Human Affairs Law (SCHAL) does not apply to any employer with less than 15 employees working at least 20 weeks per year, based on the way the law is written. If you are unaware of this fact and try to file a suit under SCHAL, it will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. And, and depending on the specific situation, you may not be able to try and file again.
In addition to the size of a company, it also matters as to whether the employer is public or private. Government employees may only sue for alleged employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition, governmental entities may define ‘employee’ or ‘hire’ differently than a private-sector employer might. This means that a person may be precluded from bringing a complaint in the first place if they are not defined as an employee.
Not Exhausting “Administrative Remedies”
The other factor that is very likely to get your employment discrimination complaint dismissed or shelved is a failure to exhaust administrative remedies. This especially applies if you are dealing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Title VII and a fair amount of case law state that a complainant must “exhaust their administrative remedies” before a discrimination claim can be filed in the appropriate court. In short, a plaintiff must try everything before being permitted to go to court and take up space on the docket.
Generally, before you are permitted to bring suit against the employer who allegedly discriminated against you, you must file a charge with either the EEOC, or, if you reside in South Carolina, with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission. The agency will investigate and do one of three things (in some cases, two of three) to help:
- Attempt to address the dispute through procedures like mediation
- Decide to file suit on your behalf in the interest of the public
- Give you a right-to-sue letter
Unless you go through this process with either SCHAC or the EEOC, no court will hear your suit, because, in theory, there may be another alternative where it could be resolved.
Call A Charleston Employment Discrimination Attorney
While it’s important to be aware of potential pitfalls to avoid in employment discrimination cases, enlisting a South Carolina employment discrimination lawyer can help ensure you have all of your bases covered. The firm of Hitchcock & Potts has been handling these cases for years, and we are happy to and handle yours. Contact attorney A. Christopher Potts today to schedule a consultation.