If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you can file a Charge of Discrimination. A charge of discrimination is a signed statement asserting that an employer, union or labor organization engaged in employment discrimination. It requests EEOC to take remedial action.
All of the laws enforced by EEOC, except for the Equal Pay Act, require you to file a Charge of Discrimination with us before you can file a job discrimination lawsuit against your employer. In addition, an individual, organization, or agency may file a charge on behalf of another person in order to protect the aggrieved person's identity. There are time limits for filing a charge. The laws enforced by the EEOC require the agency to notify the employer that a charge has been filed against it.
A Charge of Discrimination can be completed through our EEOC Public Portal after you submit an online inquiry and we interview you. Filing a formal charge of employment discrimination is a serious matter. In the EEOC’s experience, having the opportunity to discuss your concerns with an EEOC staff member in an interview is the best way to assess how to address your concerns about employment discrimination and determine whether filing a charge of discrimination is the appropriate path for you. In any event, the final decision to file a charge is your own.
If you have 60 days or fewer in which to file a timely charge, the EEOC Public Portal will provide special directions for quickly providing necessary information to the EEOC and how to file your charge quickly. Or, go to https://www.eeoc.gov/field/index.cfm and enter your zip code for the contact information of the EEOC office closest to you.
The laws enforced by the EEOC require the agency to accept charges alleging employment discrimination. If the laws do not apply to your claims, if the charge was not filed within the law’s time limits, or if the EEOC decides to limit its investigation, the EEOC will dismiss the charge without any further investigation and notify you of your legal rights.
Many states and local jurisdictions have their own anti-discrimination laws, and agencies responsible for enforcing those laws (Fair Employment Practices Agencies, or FEPAs). If you file a charge with a FEPA, it will automatically be "dual-filed" with EEOC if federal laws apply. You do not need to file with both agencies.
Note: Federal employees and job applicants have similar protections, but a different complaint process.