The offices administered by the federal government have their own terminology and their own way of doing things. If you strike up a conversation with a fellow federal employee at a neighborhood party, the other party guests will probably be puzzled by all the initialisms and acronyms related to your jobs. Most employers will tell you to keep your resume brief enough that it can fit on two sides of a sheet of paper in a font size that people do not have to squint to read, but federal employers want to know every little detail of your work history, and the resumes submitted by applicants for federal jobs can easily run 10 pages or more. When things are going well, federal jobs are great; the generous health insurance benefits and the opportunities for career advancement are some of the best parts of being a federal employee. Employment discrimination can happen in public sector jobs, too, and federal employees have a good chance of accessing satisfactory remedies for employment discrimination, but the deadline for initiating the complaint process is short. Therefore, if you are experiencing employment discrimination in the context of your federal job, do not wait to contact the Charlotte employment discrimination lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
About the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 aimed to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, and religious affiliation in a variety of aspects of society, including but not limited to employment discrimination. One of the provisions of the Civil Rights Act was to establish the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal agency tasked with investigating employment discrimination complaints. The EEOC began operating on July 2, 1965, and in the decades that have passed since its founding, laws have gone into effect that have added more personal characteristics that are protected from discrimination, and U.S. Supreme Court rulings have interpreted what does and does not count as discrimination. As of 2021, the law recognizes the following as protected characteristics based on which employers may not discriminate against employees’:
- Race, ethnicity, or skin color
- Religion, sect, or lack of adherence to an organized religion
- Sex, gender identity, gender presentation, or sexual orientation
- National origin
- Genetic information
- Visible or invisible disability
- Age (40 and above)
- Complaining about discrimination
- Requesting reasonable accommodations for a disability
- Participating in an investigation into an employment discrimination complaint
Filing a Complaint With the EEOC
The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints from federal employees as well as those of state and local governments and those of the private sector. If you are a private sector employee, you may also file a complaint with the human resources office at your job, in addition to the EEOC, but for federal employees, the entire discrimination complaint process goes through the EEOC.
The time limits for starting the pre-complaint process with the EEOC are short. You have only 45 days from the date that the discriminatory action took place to notify an EEO counselor at the EEOC about the discrimination. The EEO counselor will work with you to decide whether to proceed with a formal complaint. To get the EEO counselor to take your preliminary complaint seriously, it is best to work with the Charlotte employment discrimination lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP. This means that the best time to contact an employment discrimination lawyer is almost immediately after the discrimination begins.
The next step is to file a formal complaint, and you will definitely want to hire an employment discrimination lawyer at this stage, even if you submitted a pre-complaint without a lawyer’s assistance, in order to avoid missing the deadline. The EEOC will continue to investigate the matter, and it will schedule a hearing where you, with the help of your lawyer, can present evidence of the discrimination that you experienced at work. Your employer also gets to present their side at the hearing, and they might try to argue that the incidents about which you complained do not fit the legal definition of discrimination or that you are not credible and your allegations are not true. Your lawyer can help you present convincing counter-arguments to these points. If the EEOC hearing fails to resolve the dispute, you can then take the matter to the U.S. District Court and file a discrimination lawsuit.
What is Employment Discrimination, According to the EEOC?
Employment discrimination is any kind of hostile, punitive, or unfair treatment of an employee due to a legally protected characteristic of that employee. These are just some examples of adverse actions by employers that may qualify as employment discrimination:
- An unfairly negative performance review
- You getting more scrutiny from your work supervisors than other employees with similar jobs get
- Denial of a raise or promotion
- Derogatory comments or offensive jokes directed at you or spoken in your presence
- Unlawful termination of employment
- Refusal of your application for employment
- Demotion, reduction in pay, or transfer to an undesirable position
All federal employees, as well as employees of private sector jobs, have recourse to the EEOC to help them resolve disputes related to these types of adverse actions. Employees who hold certain qualifying federal jobs can also bring their complaints to the Merit Systems Protection Board or the Office of Personnel Management. No matter the nature of the discrimination or what position of employment you hold with a federal agency, you have a better chance of your employment discrimination complaint resulting in an appropriate outcome if you work with the Charlotte employment discrimination lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP.
Contact a North Carolina Employment Lawyer About Employment Discrimination Against Federal Employees
An employment lawyer can help you resolve your disputes over discriminatory behavior that you have experienced in the context of your work for a federal agency. You only have 45 days to file a pre-complaint with the EEOC, so do not wait to start communicating with an employment lawyer. Contact the employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina to set up a consultation.