There are strict time frames in which charges of employment discrimination must be filed. To preserve the ability of a lawyer to act on your behalf and to protect your right to file a private lawsuit, should you ultimately need to, adhere to the following guidelines when filing a charge.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) charges must be filed with EEOC within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory act. However, in states or localities where there is an antidiscrimination law and an agency authorized to grant or seek relief, a charge must be presented to that state or local agency. Furthermore, in such jurisdictions, you may file charges with EEOC within 300 days of the discriminatory act, or 30 days after receiving notice that the state or local agency has terminated its processing of the charge, whichever is earlier. It is best to contact EEOC promptly when discrimination is suspected. When charges or complaints are filed beyond these time frames, you may not be able to obtain any remedy.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII charges.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) – The time requirements for filing a charge are the same as those for Title VII and the ADA.
Equal Pay Act (EPA) – Individuals are not required to file an EPA charge with EEOC before filing a private lawsuit. However, charges may be filed with EEOC and some cases of wage discrimination also may be violations of Title VII. If an EPA charge is filed with EEOC, the procedure for filing is the same as for charges brought under Title VII. However, the time limits for filing in court are different under the EPA, thus, it is advisable to file a charge as soon as you become aware the EPA may have been violated.
Prohibited discriminatory practices in employment must be based on certain protected classes and include these adverse actions, among others: discharge, discipline, suspension, harassment, terms and conditions, failure to accommodate and retaliation.
Protected classes for employment discrimination are: Race, Color, Religion, Creed, National Origin, Ancestry, Sex, Pregnancy, Age, Sexual Orientation (incl. transgender status), Physical or Mental Disability, Marriage to a Co-Worker and Retaliation for Engaging in Protected Activity (opposing a discriminatory practice or participating in an employment discrimination proceeding).
In Colorado, a charge of employment discrimination must be filed within six months of an adverse action in employment discrimination claims. After filing a timely civil rights commission complaint, you typically have until two years from the date of adverse action to file a civil rights lawsuit. In Colorado, you can file complaints online here: Case Connect (Complaint).
Federal employees generally have only 45 days from the day the discrimination occurred to contact an EEO Counselor where you work or where you applied for a job. If the discrimination involved a personnel action (for example, a demotion or firing), you generally must contact the EEO Counselor within 45 days of the day the personnel action takes effect. Each agency is required to post information about how to contact the agency’s EEO Office. The information will include the EEO Office location and what number to call to reach someone there. If you do not settle the dispute during counseling or through ADR, you can file a formal discrimination complaint against the agency with the agency’s EEO Office. The Counselor will hold a final interview with you and then give you a notice with instructions about how to file a formal complaint. This interview will take place within 30 days from the day you first contacted the EEO Office to request counseling (unless you participated in ADR or agreed to an extension of up to an additional 60 days). If you participate in ADR, the pre-complaint process is extended to 90 days.
If you or someone you love has been subjected to employment discrimination, feel free to contact Avery Law Firm for help, either by calling 303-840-2222 or completing the confidential contact form in the side bar.