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Can I File a Lawsuit Before the EEOC Investigation Is Complete?


The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the agency responsible for regulating and enforcing federal employment discrimination laws. If your employer (or prospective employer) violated your human rights, you are required to file a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days of the last discriminatory/retaliatory event. The filing of a Charge of a requirement if you are going to pursue a lawsuit under the federal law. When the EEOC receives the Charge, it will begin an investigation into the allegations.

The Notice of Right to Sue

Generally, you must wait for the EEOC to complete its investigation and send you a Notice of Right to Sue before you can file a lawsuit. However, there are some instances in which you can file a lawsuit without first receiving this notice.

Cases that Require a Notice

For charges alleging discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or disability, you must give the EEOC at least 180 days to conduct the investigation and send you the Notice of Right to Sue.

However, you can request the notice before the investigation closes. If you make the request before the 180-day timeframe, the EEOC will determine if it can close your file within the allotted time. If it cannot, it will send you the Notice of Right to Sue. If you submit your request after 180 days, the agency is required by law to send you the notice.

You can submit your request online through your EEOC account. If you do not have an account, you can send a written request to the EEOC office that is handling your case.

Filing the Lawsuit Within the Required Timeframe

Once you receive the notice, you can proceed with your lawsuit. You must file your suit within 90 days of receipt. If you attempt to file the lawsuit after that time, your case may not be heard.

Cases that Do Not Require a Notice

For other types of workplace discrimination, you do not have to wait for a Notice of Right to Sue. If you allege you were discriminated against based on your age, you can file a lawsuit within 60 days of filing charges with the EEOC. Similarly, for wage discrimination cases, you can file a lawsuit without notice. Your suit must be filed within 2 years of receiving your last paycheck.

Contact Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP for Representation from Our Award-Winning Attorneys

If you have faced employment discrimination, retain the legal services of our dedicated team at Schwartz Perry & Heller LLP. We have over 110 years of combined legal experience protecting the rights of individuals who have been treated unfairly in the workplace. With our extensive knowledge of the law, we can provide the effective and aggressive legal counsel you need.

Call us at (646) 490-0221 or contact us online to discuss your case.

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