After filing an EEOC charge, this is what happens

Frank S. Clowney III

Filing your Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge against your employer is scary. You probably already tried to talk to your employer about the employment discrimination, and they did not help. You might be afraid of losing your job, and you probably consulted with an employment lawyer before filing the charge. So, after filing, what happens?

You can keep track of your case online

Since 2016, the EEOC has maintained an online portal that allows everyone involved with the case to submit their filings online, including documentation and proof. It also allows for the parties to keep track of the case.

As such, your first step is to register an account with the EEOC Public Portal. When you log in after registering, your case will automatically load. You can then load all of the information you have, and monitor your case as it proceeds.

What should I update or upload?

The first thing you should confirm is your San Diego County contact information. Make sure it is up to date. Next, if you are represented by an attorney, let the EEOC and your employer know by uploading a letter of representation. Next, if you have documents that prove your case, submit those as well.

First notice

Within about a week or two, your employer will receive notice from the EEOC that you filed your charge against them. This notice will contain a few items. It will request that the employer make an official statement about your charges, and offer both parties the option to mediate the claim.

Wait, mediation?

Yes. The EEOC has an official mediation process, in which independent and EEOC-trained third parties mediate your charge. Unlike arbitration or an administrative hearing, the mediator does not make any findings or rule.

Instead, they are only there to see if the parties can agree on a solution. The process usually only takes a few hours, and since it is confidential unless the discrimination charge is egregious, most lawyers recommend at least trying mediation.

After the notice, but before the investigation

Before the EEOC investigator begins their investigation, they will do a preliminary check to see if your claims are enforceable by the EEOC. In addition, they will check to make sure you filed within the required timeline after the last discrimination incident.

If they find that either they do not have the power to make a finding on the charge or that it was not filed in a timely manner, they will close the case, send a notice to the San Diego, California, parties and update the portal with the updated information. Then they will start the investigation, which generally, lasts approximately 10 months.