When employees feel they have been treated unfairly by their employers, they often face difficult decisions. Although they may truly believe they are being mistreated in a manner that is against the law, they might hesitate to act for fear that nothing will come of the complaint except more negative treatment at work or, worse yet, termination. Often, the worker wants to continue on the job but under proper and legal conditions. However, even when a California employee does take the major step of filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the results are not always as expected.
Established EEOC procedure requires a claim to be evaluated to determine if mediation may be helpful or if the employer should be provided an opportunity to answer the employee's allegations. Discrimination case experts indicate that the case may be dismissed for procedural reasons, such as an untimely filing or the lack of jurisdiction by the EEOC. Increasingly over the last several years, the EEOC has been designating more of its regular cases to its low-priority track, which essentially means that no action will be taken.
Once the EEOC has passed on a case, the claimant is provided a Notice of Right to Sue letter, which verifies that the employee attempted to use the EEOC as a resource but now has the legal right to file a lawsuit. The problem is that many people do not want to sue their employer, and others simply do not have the resources to begin litigation. In recent years, less than 15% of cases closed have involved a settlement or some form of relief for the claimant.
Budget issues and political policies have exacerbated these problems, but some experts say the bottom line is that the EEOC is failing in its responsibilities. An employment law attorney may provide counsel on options available for a worker who has suffered some form of discrimination.