Gibbons Leis, PLLC provides free employment law case evaluations for more than 100 North Carolina employees each month. Almost every day, someone asks whether an employment attorney is required to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The answer is no --- employees can represent themselves before the EEOC. But is this a good idea? Probably not.
Almost all claims of employment discrimination, harassment and retaliation must be filed with the EEOC before an employee is allowed to file a lawsuit challenging an employer's illegal conduct. Employment law claims have strict deadlines, called statutes of limitations, that employees must follow when filing charges with the EEOC. If you miss a deadline, you may be barred forever from bringing your claim. The EEOC charge form is also more important than most North Carolina employees realize. After the EEOC process is completed, if you file an employment lawsuit, your lawsuit must mirror what was alleged in the EEOC charge. If mistakes were made when filing the EEOC charge, you may be prevented from bringing certain claims or arguments in your lawsuit.
The EEOC also has a voluntary mediation program. An experienced employment law attorney will help you value your claim, negotiate the best deal possible, and ensure your interests and legal rights are protected. In addition to monetary issues, employment law settlements often include complex requirements that may impact what you can say about the settlement and your prior employer, as well as limitations on your future employment.
With few exceptions, the employer named in the EEOC charge will hire a North Carolina employment law attorney to represent its interests and defend against the allegations of illegal employment practices. Employees can and should have the same advantage.
The Charlotte employment lawyers at Gibbons Leis, PLLC have the experience and knowledge necessary to provide employees with skilled legal representation at all stages of the EEOC process. Call one of the attorneys at Gibbons Leis for a free, confidential case evaluation. We represent North Carolina employees in Asheville, Charlotte, Raleigh and throughout the state of North Carolina.