2024 How to File an EEOC Complaint in California

2024 How to File

If you are being treated unfairly at work because of your race, color, religion, age, pregnancy, or other protected characteristics, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you are experiencing this treatment, you may be wondering how to file an EEOC complaint in California.

The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws that protect workers from discrimination at work. As part of the complaint process, you have the right to be represented by an employment lawyer who understands this process and how to negotiate a favorable settlement.

How to File an EEOC Complaint

If you experience workplace discrimination or another violation of federal law, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. This complaint is known as the Charge of Discrimination. The EEOC places time limits on when you can file these forms. If your case does not involve California law violations, you have 180 days to file following the most recent incident of harassment or discrimination. If your case is covered by local or state anti-discrimination laws, you have 300 days to file.

The complaint form is complicated and comprehensive. Some of the information that you are required to detail includes:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • A description of the events and why you believe they were discriminatory
  • The reason you believe you were discriminated against (must be a protected characteristic)
  • Description of the injury you suffered
  • Your signature (or that of your lawyer)

Once you submit the form, the local EEOC office will send you a letter acknowledging that it received your Charge of Discrimination. EEOC staff members will review your case to ensure that it meets the procedural filing requirements. One reason your claim may be dismissed is if the form was received too late. If the complaint is not dismissed, the EEOC will investigate the allegations described on the form.

The EEOC takes an average of 10 months to investigate a complaint. If the matter can be settled through mediation, the case may be closed much sooner. EEOC investigators may interview the employer or witnesses in addition to reviewing the documents you provide.

If the investigation finds that there was workplace discrimination, the EEOC will work with your employer to resolve the issues. This could include having you reinstated, promoted, awarded monetary compensation, or a combination of forms of relief.

If the agency finds that there were no violations of federal law, you have 30 days to appeal that decision. The EEOC may dismiss part of a complaint but validate others. If part of your complaint is invalidated, you have to wait until the full investigation is completed before you can appeal any dismissed allegations.

Once an investigation is completed, you can ask the EEOC to hold a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge, or you can ask the EEOC to issue a ruling on whether discrimination occurred.

The agency investigator assigned to your case does not decide the case. They only gather evidence. At any point during the investigation, the agency can offer a settlement. You are not obligated to accept this offer. If you do accept the settlement, the case will be dismissed. Both parties are required to follow the terms of the settlement agreement.

If your employer fails to comply with the settlement, notify the EEOC. You have 30 days to notify the EEOC of failures to comply. If needed, the EEOC’s federal office will issue a decision that determines if your employer failed to comply with the settlement agreement.

Am I Allowed to Have Legal Representation During the Complaint Process?

Yes. You have the right to be represented by an attorney who can handle drafting, filing, and negotiating on your behalf. You can also represent yourself or have someone else represent you. The EEOC does not appoint attorneys to represent you. Having an experienced employment attorney has many benefits. Your lawyer will handle the filing process for you.

As the investigation moves forward, your attorney will work to negotiate a favorable settlement on your behalf. Having a lawyer can take the stress out of a stressful situation. You can return to work or focus on finding work elsewhere with confidence, knowing that you have an attorney who is fighting to protect your rights.


Q: Do I Need an Attorney to File an EEOC Complaint in California?

A: You do not need an attorney to file an EEOC complaint in California, but having legal counsel will simplify the process. Any errors in the complaint form could lead to the form to be rejected. The EEOC will only investigate allegations of violations of federal law. The wording of your complaint will matter greatly, and an employment lawyer will have experience in how to draft and file the form.

Q: What Types of Complaints Does EEOC Handle?

A: The EEOC handles complaints from employees who have been discriminated against at work due to a characteristic protected under federal law. This could include gender, age, race, and sexual orientation. The EEOC also investigates claims of workplace harassment. If you were denied an accommodation you needed due to pregnancy, disability, or another legitimate reason, you can file a complaint with the EEOC.

Q: What Are the Chances of Winning an EEOC Case?

A: When the facts are on your side and with the help of an experienced attorney, the chances of winning a favorable settlement through an EEOC complaint can be quite high. That does not mean that your complaint will be resolved quickly. Working with an experienced attorney can improve your chances of winning an EEOC case because your lawyer will carefully draft your complaint and make sure everything is filed in a timely manner.

Q: How Long Do You Have to File EEOC Charges in California?

A: The EEOC places strict limits on when you can file a complaint. You have 180 days to file the complaint after the most recent incident. If your complaint is covered under state law in addition to federal law, you have 300 days to file an EEOC complaint in California. The more efficient way to determine your window of time to file is to contact the EEOC directly or seek advice from an attorney.

Schedule Your EEOC Consultation Today

Harassment and discrimination in the workplace should never be tolerated. If you are considering filing a complaint with the EEOC, having legal representation can make the process easier and more likely to yield a favorable settlement. The Law Offices of Miguel S. Ramirez is here to defend your rights. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to holding the at-fault party or parties accountable.

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