18 May 2020

Wrongful Termination and the EEOC

Wrongful Termination in the Houston Area

Employees who face wrongful termination from their jobs have the option of pursuing legal action against their employer and recovering compensation. A plethora of scenarios can trigger a wrongful termination lawsuit, and they can be an unfortunate experience for everyone involved. It is important that employers adhere to ethical practices, and employees have the right to work without fear of termination based on unethical reasons. 

If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, contact us immediately. As you will learn below, it is important to file your charges quickly and accurately. Our experienced wrongful termination lawyers are available to guide you through this process and advocate for your best interests.

Wrongful Termination and the EEOC 

Prospective clients are often surprised to learn that a majority of wrongful termination claims cannot be taken directly to court. Most cases that relate to an EEO category (age, sex, race, disability, and more) require a charge to be filed with the EEOC prior to the lawsuit being filed. This is made all the more confusing by the fact that there may be multiple administrative agencies to choose from while deciding where to file. 

Does it matter where you file your wrongful termination charge? It can. This administrative process needs to be made early on in your case, and that is part of why it’s important to hire a wrongful termination lawyer sooner rather than later. 

When Do I Need To File for Wrongful Termination?

The short answer: ASAP.

These claims come with varying limitation periods that depend on numerous factors. However, all of these periods are shorter than you might imagine. For many states, you lose your right to pursue action if you don’t file your charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the event your complaint is regarding. For federal workers, this deadline can be as short as 45 days. 

These deadlines are hard and fixed. There’s no reason for delay good enough to grant an extension. No matter how blatant the discrimination may have been, you could lose your right to pursue charges forever if you miss the deadline. 

Where Do I File? 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the default place to file discrimination, harassment, and retaliation charges. They have offices in most metropolitan areas, including Houston, TX. Depending on where you live, it may be better to file with a city or state agency. Our wrongful termination lawyers can help you decide what the best course of action is for you. 

Filing a Wrongful Termination Charge with the EEOC

Once you know where to go to file a claim, the process is relatively simple. It typically involves filling out a short form and meeting with an investigator who will complete the documents. However, going through this phase on your own means going without an advocate. This can leave you exposed to pitfalls in the process you may be unaware of, making the filing process much more difficult.

Hiring a wrongful termination lawyer before going into the EEOC is beneficial for several reasons. When you work with an attorney, they can guide you through the process. Our team will work with you to draft the charge with an eye on litigation and file it on your behalf. This saves you the time spent at the EEOC and ensures your case is not susceptible to any pitfalls. Most importantly, this route guarantees that your lawyer will serve as your advocate.

When you meet with your wrongful termination lawyer, be sure to bring any information or papers that will help them understand your case. [1] One example is being fired because of your performance. In this case, you would bring the letter or notice letter stating you were fired as well as any performance evaluations. It’s also helpful to have a list of witness and their contact information. 

It is also important to note that the EEOC is only able to investigate wrongful termination cases related to EEO categories or retaliation over complaints related to an EEO issue. For example, they do investigate overtime or other payment issues.

What’s Next? 

After we help you file a charge, you may be invited to mediation. This is a voluntary process where both sides meet with an EEOC mediator (free of charge) to see whether the issue can be worked out to reach a pre-suit settlement. 

However, unless your case is small, and you’re willing to settle for a small amount of money, it is quite beneficial to have a wrongful termination lawyer on your side. A good lawyer will often enhance the value of your case by more than you will end up paying in fees. 

Finding a Wrongful Termination Lawyer You Can Trust 

While this can be a difficult task, it is worth your time to find the right lawyer. You need a wrongful termination lawyer Houston residents trust. Regardless of the case, the motive must be proven. Employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases are won when the employee is able to prove the employer acted unethically. 

At Craighead Law Firm, you will work with an experienced wrongful termination lawyer who fight for what you deserve.