How to Sue an Employer in a Hostile Work Environment

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State and federal laws prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, sex, age, religion and disability, all termed as protected class status. Abusive and extreme physical conduct by an employer that interferes with your work performance creates a hostile working environment and the law protects you.

Record the name, address and company details of your employer. Write down information about events you believe were discriminatory and why you believe harassment occurred. Note the basis of the discrimination and when it occurred. Include the names and addresses of your witnesses. Contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with your documentation.

File a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC or any of their field offices near you. The Commission is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate. Complaints made by telephone are unacceptable; visit the commission personally. A signed registered letter is acceptable. Charges must be filed within 180 days from the time violation happened.

Reaching a negotiated settlement with your employer is the initial goal of the commission. The EEOC will thereafter investigate your report and determine any grounds for violation. A voluntary settlement between you and the employer will be arbitrated through a conciliation process. Failure to settle with the employer will result in your complaint being forwarded to The US Department of Justice, to approve a lawsuit.

Obtain a Notice of a Right-to-Sue from the EEOC, if the commission is unable to file a lawsuit and a violation occurred. Limited resources inhibit the EEOC from prosecuting all complaints. The legal notice enables you to file a lawsuit in a state or federal court against your employer within ninety days.

Engage the services of a lawyer. Commission your lawyer to commence a lawsuit before expiry of legal notice. The EEOC cannot provide legal advice or represent you after issuance of a Right-to-Sue notice. Obtain a list of attorneys specializing in employment discrimination from your local office of the EEOC.