Often times, it is hard for an employee or potential hire to know whether or not they are being discriminated against. Even if they are, it may feel easier to simply let it slide, so as not to rock the boat or otherwise cause trouble. However, it is always a better idea, in the long run, to file for a variety of different reasons. Let’s dive into the process of filing an employment discrimination claim.
On the surface, it may seem like an easy decision as to whether you should file a complaint or not. No employee wants to “cause problems,” least of all in an environment where retaliation may be a realistic fear (the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reported approximately 39,500 retaliation-based charges filed with it in 2018). Sadly, it’s not uncommon for employers to take punitive measures against employees who report harassment and discrimination, sometimes even resulting in employees being terminated. While this kind of behavior is exactly the type of discriminatory action that should be called out, it can sometimes be used to scare an employee into silence.
That said, you have rights as an employee (or a potential hire) that are clearly spelled out in federal law. If you are discriminated against, you have a right to hold your employer or your superior liable for what you have been through, and to try and prevent it from happening to future employees. If you do experience negative employment actions after you file a charge, it can only make your employer look worse and strengthen your case.
How To File
Most people who decide to file a charge of employment discrimination must decide which agency to file with, as there are two that might conceivably handle your issue in South Carolina. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency that investigates all types of alleged employment discrimination, and the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) is the local agency tasked with specifically enforcing South Carolina’s laws. Both agencies have a work-sharing agreement, meaning that it doesn’t matter which agency you file your charge with, as long as the characteristic at issue is protected by the relevant law.
Make certain to file within 180 days if you are filing with SCHAC, and within 300 days if you decide to file under federal law with the EEOC. Once you have filed your charge, the agency will advise you of its receipt, and then it will investigate your claims and try to find appropriate remedies. Trial is not always the best way to handle these types of issues; sometimes mediation will prove successful, or another form of alternative dispute resolution. Regardless, the EEOC will either decline to take up your case, which then grants you the right to sue in state court, or it will accept your case and go to court on your behalf.
Call An Employment Discrimination Law Attorney
If you are a potential hire/employee and your employer has discriminated against you, do not tolerate this behavior. It is worth going through the process of filing an employment discrimination claim, especially when you have someone on your side to defend your rights. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has handled employment discrimination matters for years, and is happy to help you with yours. Contact the firm of Hitchcock & Potts today.