Filing a Charge of Discrimination in a Georgia Workplace


If you work in Georgia and have been the target of employment discrimination, we know that you likely have questions about how to begin the process of filing a claim and seeking a remedy for the discrimination that you have faced. For most types of employment discrimination, whether you want to file under state or federal law, you must begin the process by filing a charge of discrimination. However, you cannot complete that initial step until you know whether you will file under state or federal law.

We want to provide you with more information about the steps for filing a charge of discrimination after facing discrimination in a Georgia workplace.

Determine Whether You Will File Under State or Federal Law

Depending upon the specific facts of your case, you may be able to choose between filing a state or a federal employment discrimination charge. However, in some cases, the claim only arises under state law.

Generally speaking, Georgia state laws that prohibit discrimination tend to apply to more employers and employees and to be broader reaching than federal laws that prohibit discrimination. For example, the Georgia Age Discrimination Act (GA Code § 34-1-2) applies to all public and private employers regardless of the size of the employer. This law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age for employees between the ages of 40 and 70. Under federal law, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) only covers private employers with 20 or more employees.

If you work in Atlanta, you also may have additional protections under the Atlanta Human Relations Code. This law specifically protects employees from discrimination on the basis of domestic relationship status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. While federal laws may be applied to these forms of discrimination, these forms of discrimination are not expressly prohibited under federal law.

When your case arises under local, state, and/or federal law, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney who can help you to determine the best place to file your claim.

File Your Charge of Discrimination or Discrimination Complaint

Depending upon the law under which your claim arises, the next step in the process if filing your charge of discrimination or your complaint. The following are the places where you must file:

  • Claims Under the Atlanta Human Relations Code: If your claim arises under the Atlanta Human Relations Code, then the procedure for filing a claim is to file a complaint with the Human Relations Commission (HRC). You must submit the complaint in writing within 180 days of the date of the discriminatory incident.
  • Claims Under the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act: If your claim arises under Georgia state law, in most cases you will file a complaint with the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity (GCEO). If your claim arises under a Georgia state law that is not the Georgia Fair Employment Practices Act, there is no specific state administrative agency through which you must file a claim.
  • Claims Under Federal Law: If your claim arises under federal law, you must file what is known as a “Charge of Discrimination” with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Contact an Employment Discrimination Attorney in Georgia

No matter what type of discrimination you have faced, it is extremely important to have an experienced Georgia employment discrimination lawyer on your side to help with this complicated process. Contact The Vaughn Law Firm to get started on your claim with the help of a dedicated advocate.