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New Jersey Employment Lawyers > Blog > EEOC Charges Complaints > Can You File a Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit Without Going to EEOC?

Can You File a Workplace Discrimination Lawsuit Without Going to EEOC?


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a federal agency that has the authority to investigate charges of discrimination. Before a federal employment discrimination claim can be filed in court, an employee must go through the EEOC’s process. In this article, our New Jersey EEOC complaint attorney provides a more detailed explanation of how the process operates.

You Have to Go to the EEOC Before You Can File a Federal Discrimination Lawsuit

Employees must go through the administrative EEOC process before going to court. As explained by the EEOC, a worker who alleges discrimination under a federal law, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, is required to “file a Charge of  Discrimination” with the agency before they can file a job discrimination lawsuit against their employer.  

Note: There is an exception for Equal Pay Act claims. With a federal Equal Pay Act claim, an employee can file a lawsuit without going through the EEOC’s process.

What Does the EEOC Process Actually Involve for Workplace Discrimination Claims? 

For the purpose of workplace discrimination claims filed under federal law, the EEOC process serves as a critical avenue for affected employees to seek justice. While the process is designed to be accessible, it involves several complex steps that workers must follow. Here are some of the most notable things that will happen as part of the EEOC process:

  1. File a Complaint: The first step is gathering documentation and file a complaint.The complaint must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days from the last day of discrimination.
  2. Mediation Option: In most cases, the EEOC offers the option for mediation between the employee and employer as a voluntary, confidential, and quick resolution method.
  3. Investigation: If mediation is not successful or not chosen, the EEOC moves forward with an investigation—which includes gathering evidence relevant to the matter.
  4. Determination: Upon completing the investigation, the EEOC will make a determination. If it finds discrimination did occur, it will attempt to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer.
  5. Right to Sue: If a settlement is not reached, the EEOC may decide to sue the employer on the employee’s behalf. It could also provide the employee with a “Notice of Right to Sue”—allowing them to file a lawsuit in federal court. If the EEOC does not find in an employee’s favor, it will also issue them a Notice of Right to Sue.

 An Employee Gets a “Right to Sue” When the Administrative Process is Exhausted 

The EEOC is an administrative process. At the conclusion of the administrative process, regardless of what the EEOC finds regarding your specific case, you will get a “Right to Sue.” In effect, this means that you have exhausted all of your available administrative remedies. At this point in the process, you have a right to file a discrimination lawsuit directly against your employer.

 Consult With Our New Jersey EEOC Complaint Attorney Today

At Poulos LoPiccolo PC, we have the skills and experience to handle EEOC complaints. With a commitment to advocating for the legal rights of employees, our attorneys have a deep knowledge of the law and claims procedures. Contact us today to set up your strictly private, no obligation initial consultation. We represent employees in EEOC claims in New Jersey and New York.

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