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How to file a work discrimination claim

Mediation can help speed up case resolutions and avoid litigation


Work discrimination is not only wrong, it’s illegal.

The U.S. government has laws that prohibit work discrimination based on age, disability, place of origin, race, religion and sex, as well as pregnancy and other things. These laws protect both employees and applicants.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the agency in charge of enforcing work discrimination laws at the federal level, and anyone who has been the victim of employment discrimination can file a claim.

In 2011, the agency received a record of almost 100,000 work discrimination claims, and obtained more than $455 million in compensation for both employees and job applicants. The information below will give you a general idea of how the process of filing a claim works.

How to file a claim

You can file a claim in person or by traditional mail at any local EEOC office. Please note that the process is different for federal employees.

In most cases you must file your discrimination claim no later than 180 days after the date of the incident. However, the deadline can be extended up to 300 days depending on the type of discrimination that occurred and also on state and local employment discrimination laws.

Call your local EEOC office to find out on how they handle appointments and walk-ins. If you’re filing by mail, you will need the following information:

  • Your name, address and telephone number as well as those of the employer.
  • The number of employees that work for the company (if known).
  • A description of why you think you were discriminated against and the type of discrimination you were subjected to.
  • The date of the offense.
  • Your signature.

What Happens during Investigation

The EEOC will evaluate your complaint and contact the employer within 10 days to request more information about the incident. They might ask both parties to participate in the agency’s mediation program (see below).

If an investigation is open, representatives from the agency might visit the employer to obtain documents and gather more information. They might also interview witnesses by phone or ask for documents by mail.

Investigations can take several months depending on where the complaint was filed and whether the parties involved try to resolve their issues through mediation.

How Mediation Works

Mediation is an alternative and effective way to resolve work discrimination disputes. With the help of a neutral mediator, both parties will try to resolve their differences without determining who is right and who is wrong.

A few things you should know about mediation:

  • It’s voluntary and can only take place if both parties agree to do it.
  • Can help speed up a resolution to the case.
  • Can help avoid long investigations and lawsuits.
  • It’s free and confidential.

You can check the status of your work discrimination case by calling (800) 669-4000. and are the U.S. Government’s official web portals in English and Spanish, and part of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

Distribuido por Contenido Latino.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. I’ve filed with the MCAD, thank you for this information.

  2. Also with the US EEOC :

  3. What do you do when it’s HR? Like when they asked me for my green card even because I’m the only minority at my job…

  4. Discrimination does happen…So many innocent people have been harmed by fraudulent discrimination claims. When blacks and Latinos get a chance or some power at jobs they are equally as racist and discriminatory as whites. Stop playing the victims.

  5. Mario: Indeed. It goes both ways. A fellow colleague of mine who is Taiwanese, worked at the USPS back in the 1970s, and she told me a story of how a superior (a black) had made sexual advances to her, made her life at the job miserable, and she couldn’t do anything about removing him because he was part of a protect class due to a lawsuit involving the USPS. She left and started her own business. So indeed, discrimination is not one-sided and white only.

  6. Yes discrimination does happen. Let’s not ignore that.

  7. I have been discriminated at jobs, but not by evil white conservative Republican males but by African American and Latino women human resources representatives that had the cojones to tell me what I was or wasn’t ethnically and trying to assign me to a ridiculous racial category that I don’t belong to solely because of my last name. @uck them all! But I did not file a “complaint” even when everyone told me too.

  8. Mario: I have many white friends/colleagues and have never felt inferior when I’m around them. When I’m at a Latino setting, I feel I’m being ignored simply b/c many Latinos think I’m Anglo. Pigmentation plays a huge role amongst Latinos.

  9. we were @christmas dinner party, when my boss asked if me & my friend who worked w/me if were in the same gang 2gether growing up.. just cause we r both latina’s #stupidBitch

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