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Pros and Cons of Getting an Early Right to Sue Letter from the EEOC

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If you have an employment discrimination claim, the government will require that you file that claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) first, before you can just jump right into court. But what a lot of employees don’t know is that there is a way to speed up this process.

Time Limits

By law, once you must notify the EEOC of your discrimination lawsuit within 180 days of the discrimination taking place. The EEOC may opt to sue or not sue, but after 180 days, they will issue you a right to sue letter (which doesn’t mean that the employee has a case, it just means that you have a right to file the lawsuit).

But you, through your attorney, can write to the EEOC and ask that they speed up the process, and just let you file your lawsuit whenever you want. If they agree, they will issue to you what is known as a right to sue letter, before the expiration of the 180 day waiting period.

Benefits of Speeding up the Process

Why would you want to do that? The first reason is obvious; expediency and the ability to get the employer to court, or at least, to the negotiating table.

And time generally works in the employers’ favor; as time goes on, the employee gets other employment, the sting of being fired or demoted (or whatever the adverse employment action was) may have died down, and the employee may just want to move on with his or her life. Speeding the process up, takes away these problems and advantages.

Many employers see an EEOC investigation as a waste of time; they aren’t scared of the EEOC, and will just use the investigation period as an opportunity to build their case, or mount defenses against you.

Not So Fast – Maybe It is Better to Wait?

But there are drawbacks to expediting the process with an immediate right to sue letter as well.

One major reason why just getting the right to sue letter as soon as possible may not be so ideal, is because after the right to sue letter is issued, you must file your lawsuit no more than 90 days after the letter is issued. Many employment discrimination attorneys may not be prepared to file the lawsuit that quickly—they may need more time to interview witnesses, or gather information.

If the EEOC complaint was filed by the employee directly, without an attorney, the waiting period while the EEOC investigates, may give the employee more time to find competent legal counsel.

Often, the government will try to get all parties involved during the investigatory period, and will try to facilitate a settlement agreement. This may be a benefit to some employees, who may rather work the matter out without a lawsuit.

The EEOC’s investigatory period also may help you get evidence from the employer (like possible defenses they will assert), before you have invested the time and effort into a lawsuit.

Call the West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today, whether you are an employee or employer with possible employment law claims or questions.




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