Let me tell you a little secret.

You seek the advice of an employment lawyer at low-point in a career. Things at work just aren't working out. You've been written up. Or worse yet, you've been fired. And it hurts. It hurts because a job is how you support yourself. It hurts because you derive self-esteem from a job. All you wanted was a level playing field. A way to earn a decent, honest living. But that's not happening now. You're in a daze. It's surreal. You need help. You're dealing with discrimination.

Ok. You've been told file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sounds like justice, doesn't it? Someone is going to hold the employer accountable, investigate and get to the truth, right? Wrong. Now I'm going to tell you the little secret. There is no justice at the EEOC. To look for justice at EEOC is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. After a long and frustrating search, even when you do find the it, the needle has no point. It's useless. The EEOC has no power. A toothless tiger. To keep your sanity during this trying time, you have to view the EEOC as just it is. The EEOC is an agency to provide a formal process to get your right to sue letter. Nothing more or less. You may get a mediation and a preview of your employer's defense but that's it. Expecting more will leave you dissolution. Why? Because the EEOC was never designed for justice. Congress created the EEOC as result of political compromise. Conservative politicians did not want protected classes directly hauling employers into court with lawsuits with impunity. Congress created the EEOC to slow a litigant's momentum with mandatory legal requirements. You must file your charge within 180 days unless there is a similar state statute that extends it to 300. You must wait to get a right to sue or request it. When you get your right to sue you must file suit 90 days. Many good discrimination cases are never filed because of blown EEOC requirements, just as the conservative politicians wished. 

Never look for justice at the EEOC. Keep your expectations very low to keep your sanity. You're not guaranteed an investigation. The EEOC may refuse to make your employer respond to your charge. If so, don't fret. You still get your right to sue. Keep your eye on the right to sue.

Your investigator is not supposed to take sides. He or she interviews you and doesn't think much of your case. Don't fret. Investigators are not lawyers. Good lawyers know the law and how to prove your case. Keep your eye on the right to sue. Now I've told you the little secret about the EEOC. Justice is never found at the EEOC. So get your right sue, hire an attorney and get ready to do battle in the courtroom where justice may found, but then, only on a good day. Stay strong. 

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Elizabeth D. Tate, Attorney at Law
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