Correcting Employment Discrimination
However illegal, you still might have to file a lawsuit to get relief from employment discrimination. For example, if you are fired or forced to quit for any of the reasons protected by employment discrimination laws, you'll likely have to go to court to prove wrongful termination. A "threatening" letter from your attorney may be all it takes for your former employer to settle out of court. However, if the employer chooses to fight and you choose to fight back, you're likely headed for court.
Alternately, you might be able to bypass the judicial system by arbitrating your case. You don't need an attorney on your side of the table, but the American Arbitration Association recommends it. In fact, arbitration might be your only choice, if you signed a mandatory arbitration agreement with the employer in question.
If you think you have a case of employment discrimination prohibited according to the laws enforced by the EEOC (listed on the previous page), you may file your charge with the EEOC, "To preserve the ability of [the] EEOC to act on your behalf and to protect your right to file a private lawsuit, should you ultimately need to." To research organizations or other governmental agencies that might also provide you with an avenue of relief from employment discrimination, start by clicking Research Labor Laws in the sidebar.
But before you file your charge with the EEOC, it might be a good idea to first consult with a discrimination attorney, to determine if that's the best route. For example, you might be better off filing your employment discrimination charge with a state or municipal government agency. Additionally, an attorney will help you to collect evidence and better file your charge, to increase your chances that a government agency will take your case. Some attorney referral services will arrange a discount for your first visit. But you might not have to pay up front at all, if your attorney makes his or her fees contingent on winning your case.
Regardless of which route you take first, don't delay. There are time limits for seeking relief from employment discrimination.
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