Experiencing workplace discrimination can be painful, upsetting, and downright demoralizing. However, many Illinois residents who experience it feel trapped because they do not want to or cannot leave their jobs in order to make the harassment and ill treatment stop. Workplace discrimination is therefore a double-edged sword that harms individuals while they are at work but snares them in a system that makes it hard for them to get out.
When a person chooses to address the discrimination that they face in their place of employment, they will likely end up contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This government entity is charged with protecting the rights of workers from harassment and discrimination and upholds the laws that protect individuals of certain classifications from disparate treatment. The worker may discuss their problems with an EEOC representative and file a claim against their employer if they choose to do so.
However, a worker may be barred from pursuing an EEOC discrimination claim if they wait too long after their experience. Generally, a worker has 180 days from the date of their discriminatory experience to file a claim. That timeline may be extended for specific reasons, but federal employees only have 45 days to contact and file claims with the EEOC. Also, different standards may apply if an employee experiencing ongoing harassment or discrimination rather than a single discriminatory event.
When workplace discrimination happens workers should talk to employment law attorneys to ensure that their rights have not been violated. These attorneys can advise their clients of how and when to pursue EEOC claims so that they do not miss their opportunities to seek justice against those who have created hostile workplaces for them.