Employment discrimination occurs when an employer treats one or more employees differently based upon certain characteristics, such as race, sex, age, ethnicity, religion, and many others. These practices are unlawful under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Georgia law, so you do have legal options if you’re the subject of discrimination in the workplace. You may be able to recover backpay, lost future earnings, benefits, restoration to your job if you were terminated, and other relief. However, since you may already be feeling the financial strain from a discriminatory situation, you may wonder how long an employment discrimination case will take.
As with so many other legal issues, the answer is that timing depends on a number of factors. Retaining a skilled Georgia employment discrimination lawyer is one that’s in your control, but there are other issues that can impact the duration of your claim. The following information describes a few considerations to note.
State and Federal Deadlines: One of the primary factors that affects the duration of your discrimination case is the time restrictions imposed by state and federal statutes. You have two options for pursuing your claim, each of which applies a different deadline.
- Discrimination Under Georgia Law: If you’re employed by a state agency, you’ll file your claim with the Georgia Commission on Equal Opportunity, Equal Employment Division (GCEO). You have 180 days from the date that you believe you were the target of misconduct.
- Federal Employment Discrimination: If you’re an employee at a private employer in Georgia, you’ll file your claim under federal law. You need to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days after you suffered discrimination.
While these deadlines seemingly give you sufficient time to file, it’s important to take action right away. Evidence could be lost, and your recollections could fade over time. Plus, it’s in your best interests to resolve your claim quickly so you can recover damages for improper discrimination in the workplace.
Administrative Resolution of Employment Discrimination Disputes: When you file your claim with GCEO or EEOC, you’re initiating the administrative process – which is required before you can go to court. Within 10 days after you file, the relevant agency will send official notice to your employer about your claim. Then, the process may include:
- Mediation: EEOC or GCEO may require you to go through mediation to resolve your claim, which is an informal process where you sit down with a mediator and attempt to reach settlement. If successful, you may wrap up your claim with just a few weeks.
- Investigation: Your employer has the opportunity to respond to your allegations, at which point the agency will investigate the situation. On average, an investigation could take several months.
Employment Discrimination Lawsuits: If you don’t resolve your claim once you’ve exhausted your administrative remedies, you can file a lawsuit in court against your employer. Litigation can take up to a year or more, as it includes such tasks as:
- Filing the complaint;
- Pretrial motions, conferences, court appearances on status; and,
- An employment discrimination trial on the merits.
Consult with a Georgia Employment Discrimination Attorney About Your Rights
As you can see, an employment discrimination case is not a quick process – nor is it a simple one that you should try to handle on your own. Because of the highly detailed laws and subtleties, it’s best to work with a lawyer that has a specific focus in discrimination issues. A knowledgeable legal advocate knows strategies for streamlining and expediting your claim whenever possible to ensure a favorable outcome.
At the Vaughn Law Firm, employment law matters are our core practice area, so we’re prepared to handle all aspects of your discrimination claim. To learn more about our legal services, please call our Decatur, GA office at 877.615.9495 or check us out online so schedule a free consultation with a member of our team.